It was a gorgeous fall day in 1973 in Colorado Springs, Colo. I looked out my window, as I did every morning, to view Pikes Peak. No snow on the peak yet, but it’d be coming before too many weeks. I picked up the Wall Street Journal and read about a plan to bury nuclear waste in the salt mines in Kansas. Kansas! That is the state next to Colorado. Too close! Thus began my life’s work. To end the mining, designing, building, storing, using, remodeling, even thinking about, nuclear weapons. Talk about a long-term goal!

Well, the plan to bury the waste in Kansas fell through. No one wants it in their own back yard. That little problem still haunts us today – where to bury the waste. Beware Maine!

Meanwhile, we have a few other little problems. Such as the proliferation of nations who have nuclear weapons. When the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was signed in March 1970, there were five nation-states with nuclear weapons. Today, there are nine, not including Iran. Article VI of the NPT calls for all the signatories to the NPT to abolish nuclear weapons, and yet all five of the original states (yes, that includes the U.S.), are busily creating new delivery systems for their nuclear weapons, modernizing old ones, and generally being non-compliant with the framework of the NPT.

Every five years, representatives from the nations that are party to the NPT gather to discuss issues regarding the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty. This year the talks are April 27-May 22 at the United Nations.

If I were to attend this review, I would insist that everyone in attendance watch a YouTube called, “Barefoot Gen.” It is a true story written by Nakazawa Keiji, a hibakusha (survivor of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on Monday, Aug. 6, 1945. On that day, he witnessed the gruesome deaths of his father and siblings, and indeed the entire city of Hiroshima. As an adult, he felt an urgent need to warn future generations what it is like to experience the horrors of a nuclear explosion.

Since I was not invited to attend, I’ll instead write a letter to Senator King, who is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He has earned considerable respect for his measured responses and votes. I’ll urge him to always vote to end the world’s addiction to the horrors of nuclear weapons. Will you join me and write your own letter?

Sally Breen lives in Windham.


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