By Sr. Margaret Hoffman, SND
In the 1980s I stood at a window in early morning looking down on Hiroshima from our Community House. I had not wanted to come to Japan as I struggled with feelings of regret and guilt for our country’s action at the close of World War II. (In 1945 the United States under President Truman took the fateful step of ending World War II by using the first atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.) What I saw that morning was a rebuilt city sparkling in the sunlight! Only later in that visit did I see the museum dedicated to the bombing, hear the stories of survivors, note the many monuments in the city dedicated to students, and visit the hospital set up by the Americans.
In 1979 the California Province of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur took a corporate stance calling upon the United States government “to take unilateral and multilateral initiatives towards the goal of complete nuclear disarmament:
- To declare that nuclear weapons are not legitimate as weapons of war
- To declare that this nation will never use nuclear weapons on a first strike basis
- To suspend all nuclear weapons tests and tests of vehicles to deliver them
- To suspend present plans to acquire and develop new nuclear weapons systems.”
This year marks 71 years since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In 1996 President Clinton became the first world leader to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
We still live and pray in the hope that the world can be made free of nuclear weapons! The way of nonviolence takes the grace of our Good God. Peace begins with each one of us. Let us teach peace by our own nonviolent ways.
MINUTE MEDITATION: “The great danger is that under the pressure of anxiety and fear, the alternation of crisis and relaxation and new crisis, the people of the world will come to accept gradually the idea of war, the idea of submission to total power and the abdication of reason, spirit and individual conscience. The great peril is the deadening of conscience.” –Thomas Merton