- Air & Space Museum

Protest popped up all across the nation's capitol city from August 6-9 as the Atlantic Life Community and friends met for their annual Hiroshima/Nagasaki Faith and Resistance gathering. First it was at the Journalists of Color convention on Saturday, where President Bush was scheduled to speak. Most of the gathering joined other protesters outside with banners and signs, jeers and shouts to greet the motorcade. Scott Langley had a press pass, however, and went inside.

When the president began talking about compassion Langley called out: "Mr. Bush, Mr. Bush. How can you talk about compassion? It is not compassion to bomb people! It is not compassion to lie to the press and to the American people!" Turning to journalists around him, Scott said: "He is lying!" Langley was surrounded by Secret Service who led him out of the ballroom and questioned him at length before he was free to go.

On Saturday, August 7, the group visited the new Air and Space Museum and its sanitized exhibit of the Enola Gay, the plane that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima. At the signal, three banners were hung above the plane from the cat walk. They read: "The Enola Gay - A Weapon of Mass Destruction!" "Weapons of Mass Destruction - Nothing to Celebrate!" and "We Must Face the Shame of Our Horrific History!" In front of the plane, on the main level, activists unfurled a banner that read: "Hiroshima and Nagasaki - Never Again."

Brian Buckley poured ashes as other participants enacted a die-in in front of the plane. The ashes were beyond symbolic; they seemed to multiply and go everywhere - on the "dead" and the ground all around the plane. Buckley then joined the die-in, and he and Matt Ochalek were quickly cuffed by security.

The banners were pulled down, and the rest of the group was led to a secure area out of public view. They were all held for half an hour, then walked back to their cars through a museum that had been shut down.

Ochalek was bailed out that evening, and supporters posted bail for Buckley on Monday. Both men face several charges at trial scheduled for September 28.

Sunday, the retreat assembled with banners and signs at the White House. The Pennsylvania Avenue approach now entirely inaccessible, a few moved into the new photo zone to the south of the mansion. Susan Crane, Tom Feagley, Scott Langley, Liz McAlister and Sheila Stumph were arrested after nearly an hour of holding banners on this sidewalk. Others stayed across the street, holding signs and banners on the north side of The Ellipse. The five were released later in the day, with a November 17 court date.

Monday morning, Nagasaki Day, a few went to court to meet Buckley and '"go his bail." The others converged to vigil with banners at the Pentagon. From the pedestrian walkway on the south side of the building, five people lowered large anti-war banners. Arrests quickly followed for Susan Crane, Tom Feagley, Art Laffin, Liz McAlister and Colleen McCarthy. They were released a short time later in the day with court dates of November 5 and 19. The remaining community members continued the presence on both the south side and the Metro entrance.

For more information, contact Jonah House, 1301 Moreland Ave., Baltimore, MD 21216, (410)233-6238, email: disarmnow@erols.com web: www.jonahhouse.org

The Nuclear Resister
October 2004