Nuclear weapons topic of two days of activities

PORT TOWNSEND — The Nuclear Ban Team will present films, songs, poetry, speakers and other activities to mark the 74th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and to present information on the current state of nuclear weapons worldwide.

“Hiroshima & Nagasaki Remembrance: Understanding the Consequences of Nuclear War and Nuclear Weapons” will be presented from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday and Friday at the Cotton Building at 607 Water St., in Port Townsend, said Doug Milholland, a member of the Nuclear Ban Team.

The public is encouraged to drop in to the free events.

The first day commemorates the dropping of the world’s first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, immediately killing an estimated 80,000 people.

Friday marks the anniversary of another bomb being dropped on Nagasaki, killing an estimated 40,000.

More died of radiation poisoning later.

The U.S. bombings of Japanese cities led to the end of World War II when the Japanese emperor surrendered Aug. 15.

“The Beginning of the End of Nuclear Weapons,” a 59-minute documentary, will be shown both days at 6 p.m.

It tells the story of how the United Nations came to approve a new treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons, takes the viewer through a brief history of nuclear bombs and the anti-nuclear activism that has pushed to eliminate them ever since their invention.

The key roles of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, who won the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts, are highlighted.

The keynote speaker at 7 p.m. Tuesday will be Mary-Wynne Ashford, M.D., an author and activist who has been a leader in the international peace and disarmament movement for several decades.

She has received the Governor General of Canada’s Woman of Distinction Medals on two occasions in addition to awards for Human Rights and Peace Education.

At 7 p.m. Friday, the keynote speaker will be Elizabeth Murray, who served as deputy national intelligence officer for the near East in the National Intelligence Council.

She is a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, and now works with the Ground Zero Center for Nonviolence, Poulsbo-based anti-nuclear organization

Other activities, set at the same time both days, are:

• 1 p.m. — Opening statements and a series of short films.

• 2 p.m. — Members of the public are invited to share poetry and prose on the issues of war and peace, patriotism and propaganda.

• 3 p.m. — Video lectures by Nobel Prize winning physicians — Dr. Ira Helfand on Tuesday and Dr. Tilman Ruff on Friday. Both men have been leaders in the campaign to abolish nuclear weapons.

• 4 p.m. — Award-winning short films. They include “Do We Have Insurance for a Nuclear War?” “Don’t move to Canada, Stay Here and fight,” an excerpt from “Barefoot Gen,” and “Fresh Hope.”

• 5 p.m. — The Rev. Simon Ruth de Voil and friends will share songs.

At 8:30 p.m. Friday will be a ceremonial crossing the waters with an illuminated sculpture.

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