First Mennonite Church of Allentown, Pennsylvania

Nuclear Weapons -- Hiroshima/Nagasaki remembered

Peace Walkers welcomed at First Mennonite Church

Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of Hosts. -Zechariah 4:6.

On April 23, 2005, a Saturday afternoon with intermittent drenching rain, about 40 peace pilgrims from Australia, Japan, Austria, and across the U.S. arrived in Allentown for supper at First Mennonite Church.

The "Stop the Bombs Interfaith Pilgrimage" commemorating the 60th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki began with a March 12th vigil at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant, and 780 miles later arrived in New York for a May 1st rally. The following day folks from all over the world walked to the United Nations headquarters for the start of the review of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

The walkers were easy to spot, with colorful banners flying and the monks drumming and chanting their Japanese Buddhist mantra. Along the way they stayed in churches and city halls, and were usually warmly greeted by many friendly folks. Local communities provided supper at most stops, and passersby often brought bottled water, chocolate, and other gifts as they passed through cities, villages and farmland. The peace walk was a collaborative effort of a number of groups, including Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, FootPrints for Peace, the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist order, the Interfaith Peace Pilgrimage, and the Mayors for Peace Campaign (representing 611 member cities in 109 countries and regions.)

The Y12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee where the highly enriched uranium that destroyed Hiroshima was produced continues to build nuclear weapons today.

The United States has more than 9,000 deployed thermonuclear weapons on hair trigger alert and insists on holding other nations to a nuclear double standard--which will never be successful.

Aging US warheads are being refurbished and upgraded at Oak Ridge to last for 100-120 years under the Stockpile Life Extension Program.