To commemorate the 69th year since the U.S. began the Nuclear Age by dropping an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, seventeen friends (including a 6 month old baby Eli and 2 1/2 yr. old Stephanie) from the Atlantic Life Community and other peace groups participated today in a noon-time silent peace witness at the Pentagon that was organized by the Jonah House Community and the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker. Carrying signs, photos of the aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing and banners, two of which read: “Remember the Past, Repent the Sin, Reclaim the Future–Hiroshima and Nagasaki” and “Abolish Nuclear Weapons,” the group processed from Army-Navy Drive to the regular protest area near the Pentagon metro station. Instead of going into the police designated protest zone which is situated behind a fence, the group initially remained on the sidewalk. However after a police warning that everyone move into the designated area or face arrest, most complied. However Liz McAlister, Kathy Boylan and Eric Martin continued to remain on the sidewalk for about fifteen minutes. After giving three warnings to comply with the order or face arrest, Pentagon police placed the three under arrest and they were taken to the Pentagon police processing center. They were charged with “disobeying a lawful order” and after being processed were released. They will be tried on October 17 in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, VA.
One thing of note during our witness was that numerous soldiers from different countries were either going into or leaving the Pentagon during the hour we were there. This is yet another reminder that the Pentagon is the center of warmaking on our planet! We concluded our witness with a closing circle and read Dan Berrigan’s poem, “Shadow on the Rock” (see below), offered prayers of intercession and sang “Vine and Fig Tree.”
To mark the 69th anniversary of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Nagasaki, the group will hold a noon-time nonviolent witness this Saturday, August 9, at the White House.
by Daniel Berrigan, S.J.
At Hiroshima there’s a museum
and outside that museum there’s a rock,
and on that rock there’s a shadow.
That shadow is all that remains
of the human being who stood there on August 6, 1945
when the nuclear age began.
In the most real sense of the word,
that is the choice before us.
We shall either end war and the nuclear arms race now in this generation,
or we will become Shadows On the rock.