On this 76th anniversary this month of our country’s nuclear bombing of the cities of Hiroshima (Aug. 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (Aug. 9, 1945), it’s a good time to take stock of our country’s approach to the use and value of nuclear weapons.

It was a hard week for such contemplation. Just days ago, a congressional committee on which Sen. Angus King serves recommended adding $25 billion to President Biden’s original defense budget request, which already includes over $43 billion for nuclear weapons modernization. As we continue to face down COVID-19, the greatest single threat to our country and economy, it should give us pause to consider that the entire budget of the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is $8.7 billion.

But all is not grim on this anniversary. I would like to take the opportunity to thank the Bangor and Portland city councils, the Maine Senate and multiple organizations across Maine, who have endorsed a very simple public health statement called Back from the Brink. These are the five elements of this statement:

• Renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first.

• Ending the sole, unchecked authority of any president to launch a nuclear attack.

• Taking the U.S. nuclear weapons off hair-trigger alert.


• Canceling the plan to replace the entire U.S. arsenal with enhanced weapons.

• Actively pursuing a verifiable agreement among nuclear-armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals.

I’m glad I live in Maine and hope we can help this country to move away from investment in weapons of mass destruction and toward a healthy world community.

Lani Graham, M.D., MPH

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