The delegation shared their experience, and that of others, with the lasting horrors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. They looked forward to continuing to work with people in the United States to eliminate nuclear weapons to ensure they are never used again. Members of Beyond Hiroshima gave the Delegation strings of peace cranes to thanks the Delagation for their commitment to a nuclear-free world. Individuals from Olympia spoke as well, expressing their gratitude to the Delegation for reminding us how important it is to rid the world of nuclear arms. The former mayor spoke passionately about the risks of nuclear war, saying that the dangers are far greater than those posed by global warming.
Last year, Olympia City Council passed a nuclear-free zone ordinance that requires any person doing business with the city to certify that they are nuclear-free. This includes not only any connection with the use and deployment of nuclear weapons, but also with transportation and storage of nuclear material.
Arguing for the ordinance last year, Councilman T.J. Johnson pointed out that more than 1,200 cities and 100 countries are "nuclear-free." Olympia's ordinance is based on one adopted by Takoma Park, Md., that was approved 20 years ago and survived a legal challenge.
While the ordinance was not passed with a unanimous vote and barely survived a recall this past June, the celebration last night showed that the City Council did the right thing. It also demonstrated the power of a small group to change the world. The Beyond Hiroshima group orchestrated the support for the ordinance and persevered despite setbacks so that now Olympia can proclaim, "Proud to be Nuclear-Free!"