No more nukes

Aug 18-31, 2005
VOL 124 NO. 28
No more nukes
By Luke Eggleston/ SUN staff writer
SUN photo(s) Paul Finch
Pax Christi joins others in march remembering Hiroshima

Members of Pax Christi joined several other activist organizations in recognizing and commemorating the 60th anniversary of the tragic atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the U.S. during World War II.

On Aug. 6, 1945, the U.S. dropped its first atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The second bombing took place Aug. 9 on Nagasaki.

Along with the CNY Citizens Awareness Network, the American Friends Service Committee, the Syracuse Peace Council and Peace Action of CNY, Pax Christi of Syracuse completed a symbolic march from Scriba, through Oswego and Fulton, through Baldwinsville and Liverpool and into Syracuse.

The march began in Scriba, a small satellite municipality near Oswego, in the shadow of the Nine Mile 2 plant. The starting point was selected in order to symbolically link nuclear power with nuclear weapons, according to Citizens Awareness Network organizer Tim Judson.

“We need to start raising and activating awareness throughout Central New York with the need for us all to work together on this,” Judson said.

In Fulton, the group listened to a talk by local activist Joe Allerton on the pollution affecting Lake Neatahwanta.

Allerton explained that an influx of materials from a tributary in nearby Granby is gradually destroying the lake as a valid water body.

“The problem is that the lake is trying to become a swamp,” Allerton said. “There’s about 9,000 tons of sediment going into the lake every day and the phosphorous content of the water is around 200 micrograms per liter of phosphorous, it should be 20.”

While younger activists snacked after the 12-mile walk down route 481, Pax Christi members each in turn began a silent commemoration.

“We think about the victims and the survivors and think about never doing this again and hope we’ll never do this again,” said Pax Christi member Alice Nowark of Syracuse.

“We’re just here to remember that 60 years ago we dropped an immoral bomb…we’ve been paying for it ever since,” said longstanding Pax Christi member Frank Woolever.

Nowark believes that many young people are unaware of the catastrophic potential of nuclear weapons.

“I don’t think this generation’s aware of the horrific power of atomic weapons,” she said. “We’re just used to atomic power and we don’t really know on a personal level what it means to experience atomic weapons and their after effects.”

According to Woolever, since its inception in 1968, Pax Christi has grown up alongside the movement against nuclear technology.

Roughly 10 members of Pax Christi attended the march from Oswego to Fulton.

“We didn’t have any expectations. We just figured the spirit would be with us and so this seems grand,” Nowark said.

After the stretch from Oswego to Fulton, the march jumped to Baldwinsville. That night in Baldwinsville, group members launched candles into the Seneca River, an action similar to those of Japanese funereal rites.

“That was really moving,” Judson said. During the Baldwinsville event, people who had known or witnessed deaths related to cancer caused by radiation spoke to the participants in the march.

Sunday, the group marched from Liverpool to Syracuse. Fifteen people marched, but 40 showed up for the afternoon program entitled “Peace Wings: Flying Over Hiroshima” at Upper Onondaga Park near Hiawatha Lake. At that event, youths were told the story of Sadako, a Japanese girl who died of radiation-induced cancer from atomic weapons. The attendees were taught to make origami cranes, a hobby of Sadako’s.

The culmination of the event was Tuesday when the activists marched from the Syracuse City Hall to the Federal Building in an effort to call for a response at the national level.

Recently, Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll joined more than 1,000 mayors from around the world when he signed the “Mayoral Statement in Support of the Commencement of Negotiations on the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.”

“We’re going to be taking the voice of our community as represented by our mayor to our federal representatives demanding action on this,” Judson said Saturday.

By the time the march had reached downtown Syracuse, it had gathered some 100 people.

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