On the 73rd anniversary of the barbaric a-bomb attack on the civilians of Hiroshima, August 6, 2018, Cindy Sheehan was once again invited to give remarks at the Grand Action for peace there. Below is the text of her proposed remarks, previously published on Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox.
Thank you for inviting me again and for your legendary hospitality!
We come here today as we have always gathered to not only pay our respects to those who were killed and those who survived, but to bear witness with each other about the horrors and pain of war and our solidarity with those who still live in occupied and oppressed countries and communities around the world.
When U.S. president Obama came to this very same memorial in 2016 (the first US president to do so since 1945), I think many people were expecting better things from him. However, in my opinion, he gave a very meaningless speech filled with pretty sounding drivel.
What struck me about Obama’s speech, however, was how he recounted amazing acts of forgiveness by the survivors of that barbaric act –the intentional targeting of civilians – towards America. Obama came and left feeling forgiven by some here, but never once begged forgiveness from the people of Hiroshima, or Japan.
Yet despite Obama’s arrogantly pretty words that day, under his regime one TRILLION dollars were approved for “upgrading” the US’s nuclear arsenal and left the weapons of mass destruction in the unstable hands of his predecessor and those after him.
I humbly come to you speaking for countless numbers of Americans who feel the same way I do and beg your forgiveness, people to people, for something that happened before most of us were born. I come not only seeking forgiveness, but to pledge solidarity with you all in working not only for a world free from nuclear power and weapons, but also global liberation from imperialism, led by US imperialism and the cancer of capitalism which honors profit over people and domination of resources over the continued existence of life on our planet Earth.
As John Hersey said:
What has kept the world safe from the bomb since 1945 has not been deterrence as much as it has been memory – the memory of what happened at Hiroshima.
For many of us, Hiroshima stands not only as a symbol of the worse of what can happen in war, but also as a reminder of the resilience of the human spirit. By the constant struggle and love all of you have shown throughout all these decades, Hiroshima has become a monument of peace.