During the Cuban Missile Crises, I was in fifth grade and lived on Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida. I remember we had to walk to school because the base was using our school buses to transport troops in case the President decided to take military action against the Russians.  Anti-communism was at a peak and I worried constantly about the possibility of war. My worries grew so intense I became ill with a sickness the doctors never defined. I didn’t eat, had terrible headaches, and slept all of the time. I was admitted to the hospital and only began to eat when doctors threatened to feed me intravenously. Years later, when I read my diaries from that time, I saw that my entries on fearing war and communism stopped after I left the hospital.

Growing up in a military family, I learned early that nothing is permanent, not homes, not friends, not schools. I also began at an early age to question the necessity of war. I have not yet understood the justification for legalized murder in order to obtain power over others. I was a pacifist before I became a Buddhist and “Just War,” “War for Peace” are lies. As the Dalai Lama teaches harming the person who harms you just leads to more violence. Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. led movements that proved non-violent actions can result in permanent social change.

Sixty-seven years ago on August 6, 1945, an American B-29 bomber dropped the world’s first weapon of mass destruction, an atomic bomb, over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The bomb’s explosion destroyed 90 percent of the city and immediately killed 80,000 people.  Three days later, another B-29 dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, killing about 40,000 people. Countless thousands of people died over the following years as a result of radiation poisoning and other injuries from the bombing.

Every year we observe this anniversary, not only to recall the deaths of innocent women, men, and children who were not soldiers, but also to urge those who call themselves leaders to recognize the need to end nuclear proliferation. When I was a freshman in college, I read the screenplay, Hiroshima Mon Amour by Marguerite Duras.  That script provided many strong images of Hiroshima after the explosion. The image that struck me most was that flowers began to grow just 14 days after the bombing. Those images led to my poem, Hiroshima.

Please click on the following link to listen to the poem.

This is a calendar of events being held in commemoration of the Hiroshima bombing.               http://www.ananuclear.org/Calendar/tabid/157/Default.aspx

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