There are historical matters toward which our ongoing attention is worthy because of their relevance today. Here are some examples:
1. The courage and benefit of Socrates’ sacrifice to uphold the rule of law demonstrated by his refusal to escape his prison cell and willingness to drink deadly poison, a penalty arising from a trial in which he was unjustly adjudicated guilty. He personally sacrificed his life to highlight forever the importance of the rule of law for his and any society.
2. The horror of a sophisticated culture’s descent into madness and the perpetration of genocide in the Holocaust and killing of millions of Jews reminds us that the values that bind civilization can never be neglected and must always be extolled and lived passionately or fear, ignorance, prejudice, and extreme violence can overtake reason, justice, and stability.
3. The day in which humanity realized that the continuity of generations cannot be assumed and that we have the technical capacity to render the planet earth unfit for human survival: August 6, 1945, when Hiroshima experienced the unimaginable.
4. The value of extolling the virtues of individuals who express love, compassion, wisdom, and justice in their lives as examples of what it means to be a true human being.
During events commemorating Hiroshima this past August of 2017 organized by Pax Christi of New York City, I had the privilege of addressing some of these matters which must not be forgotten until ignorance, fear, prejudice, and violence are forever eliminated from the human heart. In other words, for virtue to prevail our memories must be awake, our hearts resonant with goodness, and our hands active in the pursuit of peace.
Hiroshima Never Again: Principles for Inner and Outer Peace
(An Homage to Thomas Merton)
On the occasion of the
72nd Anniversary of the Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Pax Christi Metro New York, Global Security Institute, Catholic Worker, The Raging Grannies, and The Ribbon International