The anniversary of the only wartime use of atomic bombs should remind people of the dangers of nuclear weapons, local demonstrators said Friday.
About 15 people, many of whom were members of the Lawrence Coalition for Peace and Justice, held a demonstration at the corner of Ninth and Massachusetts downtown on Friday afternoon commemorating the anniversary of the use of atomic bombs.
The only wartime use of nuclear weapons occurred 48 years ago, when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, during World War II.
An estimated 70,000 to 100,000 people died in the Hiroshima bomb on Aug. 6, and about 40,000 died in the Nagasaki bombing on Aug. 9. Thousands died from radiation-related complications years after the bombs were dropped.
"We do it on the sixth every year, but we want to recollect both events (bombings)," said Allan Hanson, coordinator of the LCPJ. "We just want to remind people some terrible things have happened and could happen again."
Participants held signs that read "Hiroshima: never again," "More bombs only kill more people," and "Back by popular demand," written around a peace sign.
A few drivers of cars nearby honked their horns and voiced support during the demonstration.
Lawrence resident Clark H. Coan said in addition to raising awareness about the anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, demonstrators were sending a message about the status of nuclear weapons today.
"There are 26,490 armed nuclear warheads out there," he said. "That's according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists," a magazine of science and world affairs.
Coan said it was important for the United States and other powerful countries to cut down on large numbers of nuclear weapons.
"There's still a lot of nuclear weapons on alert that could threaten our security, especially in the former Soviet Union," he said. "If we don't take the lead in reducing the number of nuclear weapons than the smaller countries will all want to have their own, or have more."
Another participant, Ron Warman, Lawrence, said he's been arrested six times while protesting at the U.S. nuclear weapons test site in Nevada.
Warman said that while serving in the Army seven years, part of his duties were training soldiers how to survive in case of nuclear or chemical weapons attack.
"There is no way to survive," he said. "I found out the government way lying to me so I got involved" with peace and justice activities.