by Art Laffin
Today, the 67th anniversary of the U.S. nuclear bombings of Hiroshima, and feast of the Transfiguration, members of the Atlantic Life Community held nonviolent actions at the Pentagon and the Enola Gay war plane which is on display at the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space museuum.
Wearing sack cloth and ashes, carrying photos of bombing victims, and holding one banner calling for repentance of the bombing and another banner which read: Why Harbor Evil Thoughts in Your Hearts? (Mt. 9:4), about 15 peacemakers held a mostly silent witness at the Pentagon. In between periods of silence we read the Transfiguration Gospel account and a short poem by Dan Berrigan, S.J. (see below), and offered a song about a Hiroshima child, “I Come and Stand.” Following the song, the group processed out of the fenced off designated protest area and six went onto the sidewalk near the Pentagon metro entrance and remained there to pray in silence. After several warnings, the six were placed under arrest and taken to a new processing site on the Pentagon grounds, formerly used as day care center. They were charged with violating a lawful order and released with a court date on Oct. 19.
At the Udvar-Hazy Museum about nine people held a solemn witness at the enshrined refurbished Enola Gay warplane to remember the victims of Hiroshima, and all victims of the nuclear age, and to call for the abolition of all nuclear weapons and war. As a banner was unfurled security personnel immediately confiscated the banner. However we were allowed to hold several photos of Hiroshima victims. We ended the witness by offering Dan’s poem “Shadow on the Rock” and singing “I Come and Stand.” We were then escorted out of the building by security as we sang “Child, Child.”
Those arrested at the Pentagon:
- Adrea Eiland, currently at Jonah House
- Luke Hansen, Jesuit scholastic from Wisconsin
- Beth Brockman, popular educator and peace activist from Raleigh, NC
- Bill Frankel-Streit, Little Flower Catholic Worker in Virginia
- Rosemary Thompson, Executive Director, Murphy Initiative for Peace and Justice, Baltimore, MD
- Art Laffin, Dorothy Day Catholic Worker in Washington, DC
Shadow on the Rock
by Daniel Berrigan, S.J.
At Hiroshima there’s a museum
and outside that museum there’s a rock,
and on that rock there’s a shadow.
That shadow is all that remains
of the human being who stood there on August 6, 1945
when the nuclear age began.
In the most real sense of the word,
that is the choice before us.
We shall either end war and the nuclear arms race now in this generation,
or we will become Shadows On the rock.