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A Mother’s Day call to eliminate the nuclear weapons deployed at Bangor

Approximately thirty nuclear disarmament activists took part in a spirited rally at Naval Base Kitsap-Bangor on Saturday, May 11 honoring the original antiwar message of Mothers Day, which called for the abolition of war and militarism..

Activists blocked the entrance to the Trident Submarine Base Main Gate while holding up banners that read: “Disarm Trident, Deploy Peace” and “Congress Wants $1Trillion for Nuclear Weapons. What Will Be Left for Our Children?” Supporters stood alongside the road holding signs reading: “Abolish Nuclear Weapons” and “Our Children Deserve Better.”

State Patrol officers cited eight protesters and removed them from the roadway:  Brenda McMillan of Port Townsend; Kathleen Kelly of Chicago, IL; Kit Kittredge of Quilcene; Doug Milholland of Port Townsend; Mona Lee of Seattle; Ramon Nacanaynay of Shoreline; Larry Kerschner of Centralia; and James Manista of Olympia. Bob Delastrada of Olympia was arrested by Naval Security and cited for crossing the federal (blue) line.

Mother’s Day original purpose

In 1870, Julia Ward Howe envisioned a Mother’s Day for Peace in response to the carnage of the Civil War and other wars of her time. In that continued spirit Ground Zero Center believes that the world’s children deserve better than to live under the threat of a renewed nuclear arms race and the catastrophic effects of any nuclear war. Increasing militarization and wars steal resources desperately needed to mitigate climate change and improve people’s lives, while increasing the risk of nuclear annihilation.

Eight of the US Navy’s fourteen Trident ballistic missile submarines are based at the Bangor Trident base, just 20 miles west of Seattle. The base  is home to the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the US.

Voices for Creative Nonviolence follows Mother’s Day purpose

Kathy Kelly of Voices for Creative Nonviolence earlier spoke at Ground Zero Center on “Deploying Love in a Permanent Warfare State.”  Kelly has traveled to war zones and lived alongside the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Gaza, Lebanon, Bosnia and Nicaragua. She was sentenced to one year in federal prison for planting corn on nuclear missile silo sites (1988-89) at Whiteman Air Force Base and spent three months in prison, in 2004, for crossing the line at Fort Benning’s military training school. As a war tax refuser, she has refused payment of all forms of federal income tax since 1980.

Kelly and her colleagues believe the US should end all military and economic warfare and pay reparations for suffering already caused by US wars. For the past two years, Voices has helped organize vigils and forums about conflict-driven near famine conditions in Yemen and northern Africa.

Nuclear weapons modernization accelerating

Today, the US government is accelerating nuclear weapons modernization, developing new nuclear weapons (including the new “low-yield” Trident W76-2 nuclear warhead that will be deployed on Trident submarines based at Bangor), and threatening to use nuclear weapons in potential conflicts with Russia and other nations. This is not only threatening humanity with the devastating effects of a potential nuclear war, but also diverting money and human resources from desperately needed efforts to deal with the existential threats posed by climate change. The nurturing efforts of mothers around the world would be destroyed in the brief timeframe of a nuclear war.

Largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons near here

Eight of the US Navy’s fourteen Trident ballistic missile submarines are based at the Bangor Trident base, just 20 miles west of Seattle. The base  is home to the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the US. W76-1 and W88 warheads at Bangor are equal respectively to 100 kilotons and 455 kilotons of TNT in destructive force (dwarfing the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, which was between 13 and 18 kilotons). One submarine deployed at Bangor is equal to more than 1,400 Hiroshima sized nuclear bombs.

The Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action was founded in 1977. The center is on 3.8 acres adjoining the Trident base at Bangor, Washington. The Center offers the opportunity to explore the roots of violence and injustice in our world and to experience the transforming power of love through nonviolent direct action. We resist all nuclear weapons, especially the Trident ballistic missile system.

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