YNN: Protesting Nuclear Power and Weapons

"The nuclear weapons are still on a hair trigger. I lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis and it's scarier now than it was when I lived through it. And we were really scared," said Howie Hawkins of the Green Party.

By: Bill Carey

It's a protest that comes to downtown Syracuse each August. A march to mark the anniversary of the first atom bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. Despite easing of superpower tensions and the perception of a reduced threat of nuclear war, YNN's Bill Carey says the people marching say there is still cause for concern.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- A lone B-29 was over Hiroshima carrying an atomic bomb. The images on old black and white films seem like ancient history. A time when the world seemed to teeter at times on the brink of self-annihilation. It was all so long ago.

So it may seem odd that 68 years later, there are still people marching each year to mark the anniversary of the death of that first city targeted with an atomic bomb. People still saying the world remains on the brink and can only step back by ridding itself of those weapons unveiled nearly seven decades ago.

"It is challenging because people think of it as, you know, 'Oh, this is in the past. This is history.' But what we're trying to tell people is that Russia, the United States still have nuclear weapons on hair trigger alert right now. Any war can escalate to nuclear war. So this is still a relevant threat for us," said Amelia Ramsey-Lefevre of the Syracuse Peace Council.

"The nuclear weapons are still on a hair trigger. I lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis and it's scarier now than it was when I lived through it. And we were really scared," said Howie Hawkins of the Green Party.

"We who live in the shadow of the mushroom cloud and the dangers of bullets on our streets."

And the protests don't end with the issue of weapons. There are also calls here for an end to nuclear power, a danger, these protesters say, to the environment and the source of material that could lead more and more nations down the path to nuclear weapons.

The people organizing this event say their message is getting through and that they'll continue to march every August 6th.

Ramsey-Lefevre said, "We're not going to say we've done all we can until there are no nuclear weapons left in the world.

Hawkins said, "The reality can't be ignored. They'll be reminded and maybe think about it for a minute. You know, it's the best we can do. One day at a time and we keep fighting."

"These atomic footprints on the sands of time can never be erased. They point a path which leads to unparalleled progress or unparalleled destruction. Atomic power puts the question squarely to mankind.

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Howie Hawkins is the 2017 Green candidate for Syracuse Mayor
Hawkins for Mayor