LIVERMORE, Calif. (KGO) — It’s been nearly 78 years since the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Every year, different groups come to the Lawrence Livermore National Lab to remember those who died and push for change locally.
“We gather here because Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is one of two sites in the United States where all of our nuclear weapons are designed,” said Scott Yundt, executive director of Tri-Valley CAREs.
Tri-Valley CAREs, a nonprofit that stands for Communities Against a Radioactive Environment, says its goal is to bring attention to workers at the lab that there is still opposition to nuclear weapons.
“We are using it to bring attention to the work that happens at the Lawrence Livermore Lab to the public. A lot of people don’t realize that Livermore, to this day still, 90% of the budget is devoted to nuclear weapons development,” he said.
Friday’s vigil was also to honor Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, top-secret documents about the U.S. government’s political and military involvement in Vietnam.
His wife Patricia said they would both come to these vigils every year.
“He said my real tribe is people who put their bodies on the line and that’s this group,” said Patricia Ellsberg, Daniel’s wife. “The issue of increased nuclear weapons, increased threats both from Russia now and the U.S. is untenable, it’s evil, it’s abominable.”
And she says after watching the new movie “Oppenheimer,” it finally feels like more people are starting important conversations about nuclear weapons.
“It’s an outrage that we’re building that and stock piling that, so it’s a very powerful movie that raises the issues of the urgent need for disarmament,” Patricia Ellsberg said.
She also told ABC7 News that her husband had been arrested more than 90 times while working as an activist against nuclear weapons and many of those arrests happened right in front of the lab’s gate.
By Lena Howland