Your Jan. 1 front-page story, “A flash he can’t forget,” brought a personal flashback of the day I was present in a crowded hall to hear U.S. nuclear abolitionist Admiral Noel Gayler speak on Hiroshima Memorial Day in 1980.

Gayler had 45 years active duty in the Navy when he testified from military authority: “The day we dropped an atomic bomb on Japan we made ourselves totally defenseless. The day we detonated a hydrogen bomb we made ourselves 1,000 times more defenseless. The only defense against nuclear weapons is to stop building them!” We all stood for a thundering three minutes of applause.

The former commander of all U.S. nuclear forces, General Lee Butler, said: “It is our moral imperative to ban nuclear weapons.”

President Barack Obama authorized a $1 trillion program to “modernize” nuclear weapons. This effort to improve their lethal capacity will make war more likely.

While he was visiting our Lafayette Sierra Club meeting in 2017, I asked a retired general from Louisiana what he thought about nuclear weapons. He quickly told me he “could live without nuclear weapons.” Secondly, in response to my question about U.S. resistance to abolition, he said Washington’s opposition to the confirmed July 7, 2017 UN vote to ban nuclear weapons was because of “the money involved.” $1 trillion for modernization of nuclear weapons if divided among 300 million citizens would give $3,300 to each family when credit card debt is $3,245 per citizen.

The clear “moral imperative” for abolition stressed by General Butler is more significant to our collective future than a national debt of $22 trillion that will never be paid off. “Either the weapons must go or we will not survive,” Butler stresses.

President Kennedy defined third use of atom bombs as “Our final mistake.”

Michael Christ of the International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War in January 2020 is pleased to report 25 countries supported the UN abolition vote. When 50 of the 195 U.N. countries sign on to that final agreement it will become international law. The USA, North Korea and all nuclear countries must begin to “denuclearize” our planet.

During our Cold War era KGB agents considered the Henry Hub near Erath as one of their top 10 targets. If Henry is gone energy for upper states would be curtailed.

Is it not a propitious, perhaps providential, number that 122 countries voting to abolish nuclear weapons is the same figure for critical burn units in the USA?

Innocents born in 2020 plead with us to initiate a new abolition for salvation of our planet when a one-megaton bomb is the equivalent of a freight train 300 miles long loaded with TNT.

VIC HUMMERT

retired chaplain

Lafayette