Ryan Uytdewilligen invites your feedback to his bi-weekly column. Ryan is a reporter with the Langley Advance Times. (Advance Times files)

Ryan’s Regards: There’ll be peace in the valley

August in Langley sees push for remembrance, denuclearizing, and acceptance

On Aug. 6, 1945, the United States military rushed the first of two world-altering weapons off into the sky, dropping what would be dubbed “Little Boy” over the Japanese city of Hiroshima.

“Fat Man” would follow three days later, deployed on Nagasaki to bring the Second World War to a horrific close.

The loss of life from those two single acts alone can only be grossly estimated, with scientists hazarding a guess between 129,000 to 226,000 casualties.

August 2020 marked 75 years since the two nuclear bombings occurred, as Langley, like many communities all over the world, marked the dim occasion with the ringing of bells and a reflection of those moments and certainly what has transpired between nations and human beings ever since.

This is not ancient history. Direct descendants of victims, as well as survivors, still walk this world. People in our own community may be able to recall the devastation and attest to the birth of the atomic era with first-hand accounts.

As a reporter, I don’t often get time to heavily reflect on the subjects I get to cover, but I did manage to pluck out the thread weaving through some of the stories I’ve done as of late.

I was touched to see a local group carry out moments of remembrance for something that I think most don’t often heavily reflect on either – after all, nuclear bombs and Langley are words that thankfully don’t often co-mingle together in the same sentence.

But it is important to remember. In those 75 years since, most seen to become complacent about the facts that such deadly weapons exist in this world.

The hokey black and white memories of the duck and cover method, fallout shelters, and cheesy nuclear sci-fi stories now elicit the same reactions as cave drawings.

Recent protests from a local group arguing “medicine not missiles,” tell a different tale; demands that the federal government cancel its costly campaign for the procurement of 88 advanced fighter jets show an appetite for peace.

They fear the same results as what was experienced in Japan and urge the public to never let the realities of nuclear warfare become more than just an un-alarming norm.

READ MORE: Ryan’s Regards: Library re-opening provides COVID-blues cure

At the same time, we saw what was Langley’s first official pride event, albeit online, but still celebrated in the public eye.

We’ve seen local concerns and dialogue happening on conversion therapy bans.

We’ve seen an outpouring of donations from neighbours – and complete strangers – after residents have found themselves displaced from apartment fires.

I’ve covered recent stories on people trying to extend a hand in overdose aid and COVID-19 fundraisers that don’t fade away, even half-a-year deep into the pandemic.

When I stop to think how horrific and unthinkable Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the entire Second World War must have been and how gloomy the future looks in times or viruses and such overwhelming poverty and anger across the world – I can at least see that there is a call for peace.

Sometimes it may be difficult to see amidst the coronavirus fog and the brick-like social media wall, but the overarching theme in so many actions is that people want the best for each other.

Peace, it would seem –even when it comes to atomic bombs – starts at home through our own actions and memories.


Is there more to this story?

Email: ryan.uytdewilligen@langleyadvancetimes.com

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