Fifty-five people were present at the demonstration against Trident nuclear weapons at the Bangor submarine base. Fourteen demonstrators attempted to block the main highway entrance into the base and were cited by the Washington State Patrol. (Karol Milner/Courtesy)

14 cited in Mother’s Day demonstration at Naval Base Kitsap – Bangor

BANGOR — Fourteen people were cited May 13 in a demonstration at Naval Base Kitsap – Bangor.

Leonard Eiger and Glen Milner of Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action reported that 55 people were present at the demonstration against Trident nuclear weapons at the Bangor submarine base. Fourteen demonstrators attempted to block the main highway entrance into the base and were cited by the Washington State Patrol, Eiger and Milner reported.

At around 3:30 p.m., six demonstrators entered the highway carrying a large banner stating, “THE EARTH IS OUR MOTHER — TREAT HER WITH RESPECT,” and briefly blocked traffic at the base’s main gate. They were removed from the highway by the Washington State Patrol.

After a short period of time, eight other demonstrators entered the highway with a full-size replica of a Trident D-5 missile and were removed by the Washington State Patrol.

“During the event, some demonstrators were threatened by the Washington State Patrol with arrest and a weekend in jail with an arraignment in court on Monday,” Eiger and Milner reported. “In the end, all 14 demonstrators were cited for violating RCW 46.61.250, ‘Pedestrians on Roadways,’ and released within an hour.:

Those cited by the Washington State Patrol: Margarita Munoz, Kim Loftness, and Paul Kikuchi of Seattle; Elizabeth Murray of Poulsbo; Ed Digilio of Shoreline; Ramon Nacanaynay of Lynnwood; Lisa Johnson and Mack Johnson of Silverdale; Chris Rogers and Tom Rogers of Keyport; Cliff Kirchmer of Fircrest; James Brecht of Tacoma; Michael Siptroth of Belfair; and Susan Crane of Redwood City, California.

According to Eiger and Milner, the annual protest takes place on Mother’s Day weekend because Mother’s Day was first suggested in 1872 by Julia Ward Howe as a day dedicated to peace. “Howe saw the effects on both sides of the Civil War and realized destruction from warfare goes beyond the killing of soldiers in battle,” Eiger and Milner reported.

According to Ground Zero, Naval Base Kitsap – Bangor is home to the largest concentration of deployed nuclear weapons in the U.S. More than 1,300 nuclear warheads are deployed on Trident D-5 missiles on SSBN submarines based at Bangor or stored at Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific at the base.

“Trident SSBN submarines at Bangor are estimated to carry about 108 nuclear warheads,” Ground Zero reported. “The W76 and W88 warheads at Bangor are equal respectively to 100 kilotons and 455 kilotons of TNT in destructive force. Each of the eight submarines deployed at Bangor is capable of producing a destructive force equal to more than 1,400 Hiroshima-sized nuclear bombs.”

“We are here to act for the next generations, and we are here for active nonviolent solutions and actions,” Susan Crane, a longtime anti-nuclear peace activist, said in a statement released by Ground Zero. “And we are not alone. There are many signs of resistance, signs of hope around the world. Every nonviolent action, no matter how small, creates hope. And together, these small instances of hope are precursors, a taste, a glimpse, of a nonviolent world.”

Ground Zero member Tom Rogers stated, “Our kids deserve to grow up in a world without nuclear weapons. It is a failure of our generation that they must live in fear of nuclear annihilation and bear the cost of a massive modernization of our nuclear weapons complex.”

The Seattle Peace Chorus Action Ensemble provided music for the day. Members of Veterans for Peace, the Nipponzan Myohoji Buddhist order, and other peace groups in the area provided additional support for the event.

Throughout the day, Ground Zero members were mindful of the recent passing of friend and colleague Mira Leslie. A small redwood tree was planted near the Gendai Hoto, or stone pagoda, at Ground Zero in honor of Leslie.

Future demonstrations: Aug. 2 in Elliott Bay, Aug. 12 at Bangor on Hood Canal, and Aug. 14 at Bangor in commemoration of the 72nd anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.