Tuesday, August 18, 2009

ILLUSIONS, PART 1











The dog days of summer. August is here. The road trip from Wyoming to New Mexico was relaxing and scenic and summer. The horizons smiled at us. Santa Fe was bustling and vibrant and fun. Lots of people and history and art.

We were on our way to Los Alamos, which has a history unto itself. Our focus was the Los Alamos National Laboratory. It has 13,000 employees and a yearly budget of 2.2 billion dollars. It's main purpose has always been the classified work for the design of nuclear weapons.

We, along with other Pax Christi members traveled from many states and countries to participate at a vigil to remember what happened from there 64 years ago. As we walked in silent, reflective, non-violent procession to be witnesses to that event, I thought it ironic we crossed a street called Oppenheimer Drive, named for J. Robert Oppenheimer, the first director of that famous Manhattan Project.

Los Alamos is high country, over 7,000 feet. It has breath-taking mountain scenery. Its canyons and mesas cry out beauty and peace. It is one of the wealthiest communities in the United States. Hundreds of PHD's do not come cheap. As I sat among others at the lab site, in silent prayer and reflection, my mind reached back and pulled 64 years ago close.

"The bomb exploded with a blinding flash in the sky...a great rush of air...a loud rumble of noise...a great cloud of dust and smoke...a pall of darkness...fires sprang up...an immense fire store...." (from the U.S. Gov't report on Hiroshima)

Monday, August 6, 1945....Hiroshima, Japan
Thursday, August 9, 1945...Nagasaki, Japan

These are, to date, the only attacks with nuclear weapons in the history of warfare.

The victims: Two cities in Japan
The perpetrators: The United States of America

Killed: 140,000 people in Hiroshima
80,000 people in Nagasaki

One half of these deaths occurred on the days of the bombings. 15-20% died from injuries of the combined effects of flash burns, trauma, and radiation burns, compounded by illness, malnutrition, and radiation sickness. Since then more have died from leukemia and cancers attributed to exposure to radiation released by the bombs.

MOST OF THE DEAD WERE CIVILIANS.
THE RESIDENTS OF HIROSHIMA WERE GIVEN NO NOTICE OF THE ATOMIC BOMB.

Beautiful Los Alamos. Why am I crying??

Pax Tecum