Guest columnist Rev. Dr. Peter Kakos: A brief history of Northampton’s never forgetting Hiroshima


Published: 08-05-2023 7:27 PM

Friends, soon after our atomic bomb obliterated Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945 (and Nakasaki, three days later), citizen-activists, who later came to Northampton, began calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons worldwide.

A young Dr. Thomas Crowe was sent there by the Army to study the overwhelmingly devastating human impact. He would later create Cooley Dickinson’s Radiology Department (which this writer sought out in 2018). In spirit and through countless actions, he and his intrepid wife, Frances, have spoken out and demonstrated — often to the point of being jailed — against the existence of any and all nuclear weapons, let alone the relentless, headstrong development of the ensuing arms race.

Seventy-eight years later, the nuclear abolition movement continues to honor our victimized sisters and brothers, throughout the world as well as in long-suffering Japan. The range of deaths associated with both radiotoxic conflagrations now stands at 240,000-270,000.

We stand today on the Crowes’ visionary shoulders, to cry out for a sane world free of these insane omnicidal weapons.

In 2022, the United Nations enacted the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Since its inception in 2017, no less than 59 nations’ parliaments have voted to sign on, making possession of these bombs an international crime. The ardent hope is to increase pressure upon the nine possessor nations to negotiate an agreeable mechanism to dismantle all, before another hellish day like Hiroshima occurs, whether intentionally or accidentally — as was the case of the Chernobyl, Russia nuclear power plant meltdown of 1986, from which the region still struggles to emerge. (At its height, explosions twice as powerful as Hiroshima occurred).

Readers of this plea, consider the nuclear abolitionist cause!

You can begin by learning about the Physicians For Social Responsibility’s campaign: Back from The Brink; together with Nuclear Free Future Coalitions’ Weapons To Windmills project. Both have their roots on Northampton’s Langworthy Street, carrying the baton Frances’ compassionate hand has passed.

In addition, see State H. 738, to establish a citizens commission, thanks in no small part to Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa and Sen. Jo Comerford.

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Should you need to brace yourself to comprehend this civilization-ending prospect, see the newly released, star-studded movie “Oppenheimer,” whose story leads up to the grave decision to annihilate Hiroshima. After the crucial Trinity test, we watch the head physicist, Dr. Robert Oppenheimer, become shaken to the core of his existence — for a very good reason,

When asked why we are so passionate about our cause, we reply: “We have no less than eight billion reasons.”

The Rev. Peter Kakos lives in Northampton.