This past Sunday, August 6th, was a warm and rainy day in Birmingham, Alabama. Our Pax Christi group gathered in the beautiful Japanese garden of the Birmingham Botanical Gardens to mark the anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by coming together in prayer.
The rain held off for our short prayer service where we read from Romans chapter 12, and prayed for those who died and for an end to nuclear weaponry. Afterward, our PC member Hope shared with us the story of Sadako Sasaki and taught us how to make origami peace cranes.
We didn’t know that the news in the week following would be filled with talk of nuclear war. But the coverage did not center on the anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, rather the press reveled in the new threats of “fire and fury”. The media repeatedly broadcast the brazen one upsmanship of Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. This back and forth of back nuclear threats seems to have become our new normal.
Nuclear weapons should not be the playthings of leaders, jockeying for power and posturing for their respective populations.
Consider this poem:
Shadow on the Rock
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.
Daniel Berrigan captures the evil of nuclear weaponry. These weapons broadly and indiscriminately reduce life to a shadows, children of God become dark spots etched on stone.
Beyond the news cycle, beyond the bombast of world leaders, we must focus on the Truth and share it. Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki is essential.
– This is our cry. This is our prayer. Peace in the world. –