I chose to try and deliver our letter to Colonel Hund at Hanscom Airforce Base this Memorial Day weekend because I felt I could no longer be silent, nor could I, as an American taxpayer, mother of four and grandmother of one, as a business owner of 36 years, continue to be complicit in the work of consummate evil being carried out in our names by our government at this base. As the Command and Control Center for nuclear weapons of the USA, the wicked fruits of this labor could result in the annihilation of life on our planet at any time.
During our Peace march on Sunday, while leafletting by the Minuteman statue, one of our group noted that there were two types of passersby: those who took our pamphlet explaining why we were protesting, and engaged in dialogue. The other type looked past us and pretended not to see, did not engage. To that second type, he asked “How would you act differently if you were told that you are living right down the street from Auschwitz?” One respondent to that question did then engage, and in fact joined our group, picked up a sign, and marched to the base.
I visited that death camp a few years ago. Our guide led us under the Arbeit Macht Frei gate., She was a lovely young Polish teenage girl with golden braids. Cheerfully, matter of factly, she described the grim scene. The hooks on the wall of the crematorium for victims to hang their clothes on before taking a shower. The bins of shoes. Hair. The medical experimentation torture rooms and the barracks. The gallows. Finally I asked her how she could bear to conduct this tour day after day, spend her youth doing this, and she smiled and said it was an honor, and encouraged me to get a many American people as possible to visit Auschwitz so we can see what horrors man is capable of so its like may never happen again.
Our senators and congresspeople from Massachusetts support this base and its mission supposedly because of the jobs it brings. High paying engineering jobs, computer jobs, high tech. Arbeit Macht Frei indeed. Good Germans presumably had good jobs at Auschwitz, manufacturing and trucking in Zyklon B, engineering the crematoria, keeping the trains running, the munitions pouring out. But outside the gates of Hell, trees blossomed, rivers ran, people and animals survived to overcome the horror. Such will not be our fate, the fate of humanity, in the act of the nuclear Armageddon today being planned as part of a trillion dollar “update.”. The weapons bring developed today, as we so civilly discourse here in Concord Courthouse, are 20, 50, 100 times more destructive than bombs dropped on Japan at the end of World War II, effectively out-Auschwitz-ing Auschwitz. In the face of such depravity, I can no longer stay home and watch the news. We must become the news.
Yesterday I explored the forests and quarries of Rockport with my 9 year old granddaughter, delighting in the first lady slippers of the spring. Seeing the promise of blueberries come July. Pointing out cardinals and bluebirds, ducks raucousing in the reeds. When her hair greys, will she have the privilege of so guiding her granddaughter through a forest rich in life? Emphatically, hopefully, Yes. Yes, tomorrow and tomorrow, face to face, person by person, we work together to confront and reverse the evil business of nuclear weapons.
I want to thank the police for doing their jobs conscientiously and kindly on Sunday, and thank you for hearing me out.