The morning of Aug. 6, 1945, was clear in Hiroshima, Japan. A rumor had spread among the people that the Americans would not harm Hiroshima because it was a city of devout Buddhists, according to "Unforgettable Fire," edited by Japan Broadcasting Corporation.
But at 8:15 a.m., an atomic bomb was dropped from the US B-29 Enola Gay. The center of the fireball it created was 500 million degrees Fahrenheit. Seventy thousand people were killed instantly. Near the center of the explosion people literally evaporated and only their shadows remained.
While the people of Japan struggled with the dead and dying and the devastated city of Hiroshima, the U.S. was waiting for sufficient plutonium 239, made by bombarding uranium 238 with neutrons in a nuclear reactor, to make the second bomb. Three days later, it was ready -- the U.S. dropped a second bomb on Aug. 9, on Nagasaki, killing 40,000 people instantly.
The people of Japan and anti-nuclear activists the world over have implored the world's societies, especially the world's nuclear superpower, the U.S., to abolish nuclear weapons so that no other nation has to go through the torture and suffering from nuclear devastation that the U.S. cast upon the Japanese people.
Instead, according to Ploughshares.org, the U.S. has plans, for example, to spend $11.6 billion to upgrade 200 nuclear bombs -- with each bomb upgrade costing more than "twice its weight in gold" -- and the B61. These bombs were originally deployed in Europe to slow a hypothetical Soviet land invasion of western Europe, but the cold war ended long ago.
The Obama administration wants to upgrade those that remain, making them more accurate and "useable." These costly bomb upgrades will only rack up more debt while adding no benefit to our security, according to Ploughshares.
A new film, "The Ultimate Wish, Ending the Nuclear Age," will be shown at the Trident Coffee Shop and Bookstore, 940 Pearl St., Boulder, on Wednesday, with a reception to honor Hiroshima native Keiko Miyamoto and Kathleen Sullivan, co-producer of the film, at 7 p.m. The film begins at 8 p.m.
A world free of wars and nuclear weapons is possible. What it takes is active, engaged, angry, idealistic people. Millions of us must demand it. No more funding of war and nuclear weapons. Period.
The Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center's "Peace Train" column appears every Friday in the Colorado Daily.