VOLUNTEER TV, KNOXVILLE, TENNESSEE, AUGUST 5, 2006
Few would deny that Oak Ridge stands as a symbol.
Birthplace of the Manhattan Project that ushered in nuclear warfare.
61 years later, home to our country’s only nuclear weapons facility.
This day, ground zero for those who believe it should close for good.
Volunteer TV’s Whitney Daniel, has more on what’s become a yearly ritual, a pilgrimage of principle.
“I have dreamed about Oak Ridge. I have hated it from the bottom of my heart. I have admired it for it’s technical advances,” said Phyllis Rodin.
Phyllis Rodin is 92-years-old. She’s been an activist against nuclear weapons making for years, but she’s never been to Oak Ridge.
“I came here because I had never been to this place where the monster was inaugurated… and that is here.”
“We’re very important to the National Security of the United States. We do very important work here in maitaining our nuclear deterrant,” said Steven Wyatt a Y-12 Representative.
That doesn’t settle well with these protestors who proclaim peace.
“It’s a whole contradiction of who we are and who we should be as a country so we want it to end,” said Fred Thelen, a protestor.
Most sent that message buy tying ribbons to the gate at Y-12… Some by drawing shadows on the roadway… representing those who died at Hiroshima 61 years ago.
“It’s inspirng to see people from all over coming from different backgrounds and for different reasons to join together in this really powerful struggle,” said Ingrid Johnson.
But not everyone thought so. Eight demonstrators took it one step futher as peacful protests led to their arrests for “civil disobediance” after police requested they leave the roadway. They refused, but went with police cooperatively and willingly.
This event happens each year… but so far their rallys haven’t brought any changes from the government… so what drives them to come back each year?
“The movement against slavery began as a small movement of people and it grew until slavery was abolished and we feel the same thing can happen and needs to happen with nuclear weapons,” said Thelen.
Events continue all week.
Sunday, August 6 – Names/Remembrance Ceremony 6:15 – 8:30 a.m. at Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Plant
Wednesday, August 9 – Peace Picket 6:15 – 9:30 a.m. at the Federal Building on Oak Ridge Turnpike.