About a dozen people, most of them seniors, gathered at Marine Park in downtown Juneau Thursday for a silent vigil to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Aug. 6 and 9, respectively in 1945, ending World War II.
“We’re military vets and friends who advocate ending war,” said Craig Wilson, a member of the Juneau chapter of Veterans for Peace, the group which organized the vigil.
“We’re here to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the world’s first use of nuclear weapons and have a silent vigil in remembrance of the unknown number of people who were killed during that bombing. Nobody knows how many people died,” Wilson said.
According to a U.S. Department of Energy history of the Manhattan Project, the project which built the bombs dropped on Japan, an estimated 70,000 people died from the initial blast, and a combined total of more than 200,000 died from cancer or other injuries related to the bombing. The United Nations estimated more than 213,000 people died in the combined bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Veterans from all branches of the military were there Thursday, Wilson said, he is a former member of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Wilson said the organization wanted to raise awareness of nuclear weapons and prompt discussions about declaring an Arctic nuclear weapons-free zone.
“Well over half the world is declaring it to be nuclear (weapons) free,” Wilson said.
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