Yesterday marked the anniversary of the day in which the world entered the atomic age. On July 16, 1945, at 5:29:45 AM at the Alamogordo Test Range, on the Jornada del Muerto (Journey of Death) desert, in the test named Trinity, the experimental device known as the "Gadget" was detonated, creating a light "brighter than a thousand suns." A mere 6 kilogram (13.2 pound) sphere of plutonium, compressed to supercriticality by the surrounding high explosives, created an explosion equivalent to 20,000 tons of TNT (20 Kilotons).
Was this, as thought nuclear physicist Robert Oppenheimer, the beginning of the end? These scientists had "become death", and they had created what could become (quite literally) "the destroyer of worlds"(Oppenheimer quoted a verse from the Bhagavad Gita which read, "I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.") The nuclear genie (referred to in my previous post) was out of the lamp and now, 64 years later, we have one final wish left. Will it be for the genie to return to the lamp? We had better hope so!
Less than one month after the Trinity test, the United States dropped two atomic bombs - on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki - that killed over 100,000 people in less time than it took me to type a few of these words. As many as 220,000 were dead from the effects of radiation by the end of 1945. Even today, 64 years later, survivors and subsequent generations suffer the effects of radiation.
So began a journey (with the test known as Trinity) that has led humanity down the perilous road of preparation for its own destruction. Scientists have continued to seek the power of gods, creating ever more destructive nuclear devices over the years, and military planners continued asking for more of these awful weapons in every shape and form (and method of delivery).
When will we say - ENOUGH!? Join me over the next month on a journey of reflection and repentance as I post a series of thoughts and meditations commemorating the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and highlighting the work of some of the people and organizations working to put the nuclear genie back into the lamp. As always, there will be actions we can take towards a nuclear weapons-free world.
Towards a peaceful end to the nuclear age,