Report of Aug. 6, 2018 Pentagon Peace Witness Commemorating the U.S. Nuclear Bombing of Hiroshima–1 Arrested

“The bomb exploded within 100 feet of the aiming point. The fireball was 18,000 feet across. The temperature at the center of the fireball was 100,000,000 degrees. The people who were near the center became nothing. The whole city was blown to bits and the ruins all caught fire instantly everywhere, burning briskly. 70,000 people were killed right away or died within a few hours. Those who did not die at once suffered great pain. Few of them were soldiers.”  

–From “Original Child Bomb,” by Thomas Merton, describing the firepower, death and destruction that was unleashed on Hiroshima

Dear Friends,

Today, August 6, from 7-8 AM about 20 people from the faith-based peace community in D.C., Virginia and Maryland, held a prayer witness of repentance at the Pentagon to commemorate the 73rd anniversary of the U.S. nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and to call for the abolition of nuclear weapons. (See Prayer Service Program of Repentance Below) This witness was organized by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker and cosponsored by Pax Christi Metro-DC, and Pax Christi USA, Pax Christi International, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, Assisi Community,  Jonah House, Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, the Sisters of Mercy—Institute Justice Team and the Franciscan Action Network.

We gathered for the Prayer Service in the Pentagon police designated protest zone which is located in an enclosed space behind a bicycle fence on the southeast corner of the Pentagon near the south parking lot. As hundreds of civilian and military workers streamed into the Pentagon, they saw several prominent messages that were displayed on a sign and banner: “U.S. Nuclear Bombing of Hiroshima, August, 6, 1945—Repent,” and: “Remembering the Pain, Repenting the Sin, Reclaiming the Future—Aug. 6-9 Hiroshima & Nagasaki.” The banner also depicted a drawing of an A-Bomb child victim. Vigilers also held photos of victims of Hiroshima and other signs.

The prayer service began with a statement which I offered (see below). Judy Coode then led the reading of  the “Apology Petition” that was shared and presented two years ago to Mr. Mimaki, a Hiroshima Hibakusha, during our August 6, 2016 White House commemoration witness. Over 700 people signed the petition. (see Petition below)

After the second paragaph of the Apology petition was read by Kathy Boylan, she proceeded to walk out onto the sidewalk toward the entrance to the Pentagon holding a banner that said:“Hiroshima and Nagasaki: A Butchery of Untold Magnitude”—Pope Paul VI). Kathy was met by Pentagon police and shortly thereafter was handcuffed and taken by Pentagon police to be processed and released. She was charged with “Interfering with Agency Functions,” and “Failure to Obey a Lawful Order,” and given a September 20, 2018 court date.

At the conclusion of the prayer service, we had a closing circle which included a short reflection from Shizuko, a Japanese peace activist who shared about the bombing of Hiroshima and its aftermath, as well as a powerful encounter an A-bomb child had with a U.S. Airman who was involved in the bombing.

To commemorate the U.S. Nuclear bombing of Nagasaki and to call for the abolition of all nuclear weapons, please join us on Thursday, August 9th from Noon – 1:00 PM, where there will be a Prayer Service of Repentance outside the White House. Meet on north side of White House on Pennsylvania Ave.–across from Lafayette Park.  

With hope for a disarmed world,



Prayer Service of Repentance for Aug. 6, 2018 Pentagon Witness

OPENING (Art Laffin)


During our Prayer Service of Repentance in front of the White House on August 6, 2016, an Apology Petition was read and presented to Mr. Mimaki, a Hiroshima A-bomb survivor. Over 700 people signed the petition. In September 2016, Mr. Mimaki  delivered the petition to the Mayor of Hiroshima and is now at the Hiroshima Peace Museum. This petition was prepared by Scott Wright and Art Laffin. Groups sponsoring the petition include: Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Pax Christi Metro-DC, Columban Center for Advocacy and Outreach, the Sisters of Mercy—Institute Justice Team, Little Friends for Peace and Jonah House. 

Hiroshima and Nagasaki: An Apology

Envision the World Without Nuclear WeaponsAugust 6 and 9, 2016— 71st Anniversary of the U.S. Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki  (Read By Judy, Kathy Boylan, Tony Magliano and Sr. Quincy)

The anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki is a time of remembering the horror, repenting the sin and reclaiming a future without nuclear weapons. It is a time to recommit ourselves to the work of disarming and dismantling the machinery of mass destruction. Nuclear weapons are sinful and idolatrous. Their research, production, possession, deployment and use are a crime against God and humanity. We decry the fact that the U.S. government plans to commit a trillion dollars to modernize its existing nuclear arsenal over the next thirty years.

On this August 6 and 9, we gather with people of faith and conscience across the globe to mark the anniversary with a daily presence of prayer and action. As citizens of the United States, we invite people to publicly ask God for forgiveness for the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which caused the immediate death of more than 200,000 people, and hundreds of thousands more who died in the aftermath as a result of radiation poisoning. Pope Paul VI, in his 1976 World Day of Peace Message, described the bombings as “a butchery of untold magnitude.”

We apologize to the people of Japan – and to the survivors of the bombing, the hibakusha – for our country’s bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and we ask forgiveness for these atrocities. We repent for the continued proliferation of nuclear weapons at the expense of unmet human needs. Further, we offer repentance for threatening to use nuclear weapons and keeping many of them on a first-strike hair-trigger alert. We firmly resolve, with God’s grace and mercy, to reject the false idols of nuclear weapons, and to embrace the life-affirming work of abolishing these weapons of terror.

Now is the time to pursue non-violent alternatives to war and proclaim a Jubilee Year of Mercy, as both the Scriptures and Pope Francis suggest: to restore justice for the poor; to lay the foundations for peace; and to seek a nuclear-free future for our children. In that spirit, we renew our commitment to the biblical vision of peace, a world without weapons or war, expressed so well by the prophet Isaiah: On that day, “God will rule over all nations and settle disputes for all peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not raise sword against nation; nor will they train for war anymore” (Is 2:4).

A-Bomb Survivors Song (Art)

Feast of the Transfiguration Gospel Reading from Mark: 9:2-10 (Marie Dennis)

Let us pray that we can truly listen to Jesus and be transfigured by God’s love. Let us renounce what Dr. King called the triple evils of poverty, racism and militarism as we seek to follow the way of nonviolence and create the Beloved Community.

LITANY OF REPENTANCE  (Mike Walli and Jack McHale)

For the U.S. development, use, and continued threatened use of nuclear weapons, Forgive us O God 

For the over 200,000 people who died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki as a direct result of the U.S. nuclear bombings, Forgive us O God 

For the countless Japanese A-Bomb survivors who have suffered and died from the effects of nuclear radiation, Forgive us O God 

For the unknown numbers of people who have suffered and died from nuclear testing in the South Pacific, Forgive us O God 

For workers in nuclear facilities who have been exposed to radiation and who have suffered and died,

Forgive us O God

For those living downwind from nuclear facilities who have contracted cancer and other illnesses and who have died, Forgive us O God 

For those prisoners and people with mental disabilities who were subjects of nuclear radiation experiments, Forgive us O God

For the U.S. use of highly toxic radioactive depleted uranium weapons in Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and elsewhere which have claimed untold lives and have caused dramatic increases of cancer, leukemia and birth defects in each of the countries where these weapons have been used, Forgive us O God 

For the millions who needlessly suffered and died–past and present–because of the money and resources squandered on weapons and war instead of on programs to help eradicate poverty and preventable diseases, Forgive us O God 

For desecrating the earth and the environmental damage caused by the mining, testing and use of nuclear technology, Forgive us O God 

For the U.S. militarization of space and the dangerous use of nuclear technology in space,

Forgive us O God 

For the U.S. military being the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels, and the single entity most responsible for destabilizing the Earth’s climate, Forgive us O God 

For placing our trust in the false security of weapons and mammon rather than in God, Forgive us O God


Community Prayers

 “SHADOW ON THE ROCK” by Daniel Berrigan, SJ (Dan Jackson)

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.


SONG: I COME AND STAND  (Sing Together)

I come and stand at every door, But no one hears my silent prayer, I knock and yet remain unseen, For I am dead, for I am dead.

I’m only seven although I died, In Hiroshima long ago. I’m seven now as I was then, When children die they do not grow.

My hair was scorched by a swirling flame, My eyes grew dim, my eyes grew blind, Death came and turned my bones to dust,

And that was scattered by the wind.

I need no fruit, I need no rice, I need no sweets nor even bread, I ask for nothing for myself, For I am dead, for I am dead.

All that I ask is that for peace, You work today, you work today, So that the children of this world, May live and grow and laugh and play.


Published in: on August 6, 2018 at 11:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

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