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Reflecting on Cape Cod’s Cold War nuclear history

MY VIEW: Reflecting on Cape Cod’s Cold War nuclear history , Cape Cod Times,   By Abby Pokraka, 18 July 20,  Soaking in the beauty of the Cape while watching the sunset over Old Silver Beach, it is hard to think about this place as anything but a quiet, picturesque summer escape. But nestled among the hydrangeas and cranberry bogs, more than 50 nuclear weapons once sat ready, their operators waiting for the end of the world. As we mark the 75th year of the nuclear age, it’s worth reflecting on Cape Cod’s nuclear history in a world still rife with nuclear dangers……

It’s unclear how many ordinary residents knew that some of the most destructive devices ever created were sitting just a few miles from their favorite beach spots   My father could feel the aircraft and bombing practice inside his home, growing up just miles from the base, an ever-present reminder of a Cold War that could one day turn hot. But he never knew about the nuclear weapons, and is sure many others didn’t either. ………

Sadly, this lack of nuclear knowledge is not solely a Cape Cod problem. Nationwide, nuclear education is lacking. Most people do not know the United States government conducted 1,032 nuclear tests that sickened and killed thousands of people around the world. It is not general knowledge that the United States and Russia still possess more than 90% of the world’s remaining nuclear weapons — about 6,000 each.

Seventy-five years after the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it’s easy to feel far removed from the nuclear threat. The bombs have gone from our sandy shores and the threat of nuclear war seems distant and antiquated. That is not the case.

So, as you eat ice cream, photograph cotton candy sunsets, and talk about how different the world is because of the pandemic, it’s worth brushing up on your nuclear history and learning how nuclear weapons continue to affect our daily lives. Thankfully, when it comes to reducing nuclear threats, Massachusetts legislators have led the way for decades. Today, our delegation continues to champion policies that protect their constituents — and the world — from nuclear catastrophe.

Abby Pokraka, an alumna of Falmouth High School, is program coordinator for the nonprofit Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation in Washington, D.C.

July 20, 2020 - Posted by | USA, weapons and war

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