The second weekend of August will bring together people all over the world to remember the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It will be not only a solemn time of remembrance, but also a time to look ahead and say Never Again as we work towards the abolition of nuclear weapons from the face of the earth. One such gathering will be at Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action in Poulsbo, Washington, where dedicated peace and anti-nuclear activists will come together for a weekend of activities that will culminate with a nonviolent direct action at the gates of the Trident nuclear submarine base (Sub Base Bangor).
Many of the people who will participate have long histories of nonviolent direct action, including blocking the train tracks on which the infamous White Trains used to carry nuclear weapons into what is now known as Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor. But there will be one invited guest who has a very special story related to blocking military weapons trains. Brian Willson, a peace activist, Vietnam veteran and trained lawyer, was run over by a U.S. Navy train at the Concord Naval Weapons Station in Concord, California on September 1, 1987. That train was on its way out with weapons on their way to Central America.
Brian had been participating with two other veterans in a nonviolent resistance action blocking the train tracks in protest of the weapons shipments to Nicaragua and El Salvador. The Navy train crew and base command had advance notice of the blockade, the train was travelling three times its posted (5 miles per hour) speed limit, the operators had clear sight of Brian (for 650 feet with clear visibility), and they never applied the brakes before or as the train struck Brian. I will let you read more about the governments bizarre post-accident behavior in Brian's brief autobiography.
Brian survived his injuries, but lost both his legs. His healing from both the physical and emotional trauma has been nothing short of miraculous, but what is even more noteworthy is his continued witness for peace and his unfailing speaking truth to power. Brian ends his autobiography with a short, but powerful statement expressing his awareness of his "sacred interconnectedness with all life. We are not worth more, they are not worth less." If only the operators of that Navy weapons train and every other member of the U.S. military (and, indeed, all of us) would take that sentence to heart - how different might the world be today???
Join Brian and the people of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action for any part of the August 8-10 weekend as we remember Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and work towards a different world, one at peace and without nuclear weapons. CLICK HERE for the complete schedule (schedule subject to change). For more information, call Sue Ablao or Jackie Hudson 360-377-2586, or Anne Hall, 206-545-3562, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit http://www.gzcenter.org/. You can also email questions to me at email@example.com.