Preventing Nuclear War Through Community

A country housewife turned peace worker shares some suggestions for preventing nuclear war.

| January/February 1985

Note: Peace Links - North Carolina — the non-profit organization mentioned in this article — closed in 2011. From the organization's website: "Though the need for peacemaking is clearly not over, all our members are actively involved in other important work. It's time to let this organization, with its wonderful history, retire."  

It was 15 years ago when my husband, Bill, and I decided that homesteading was for us. We left our busy city lives in Baltimore and for six months traveled the back roads of our country in search of a new, rural home. Now, years later, we have made a place for our family to live "happily ever after" in the mountains of western North Carolina. Bill has an established career as a family practitioner, and we have three beautiful children.

And we are afraid for our lives.

We were not more than four months into our new home when my peaceful life in the country was bombarded with fear. I didn't start locking the doors at night or even taking the keys out of the car, but I did begin having devastating visions of the holocaust that may come. I could see my children dying from radiation sickness, seared with burns and in deep pain, wanting me to do something for them...and me with no power to help in any way.

What could I do to keep this vision from becoming reality? How could I, a full-time mother of three children under the age of 6, a woman who was afraid of even talking about my fears of the future, work on preventing nuclear war? Wasn't that asking too much? I didn't even know what a megaton or an ICBM was. All I knew was that I was afraid that Bill and I would never live to a ripe old age and that our children wouldn't have any future at all.

But motherhood motivated and empowered me in a way I never dreamed possible. I had spent a lot of energy on keeping poisons and other potentially dangerous objects from my children. How could I not extend these protective instincts and work on preventing nuclear war? I knew that I needed to try something — anything. I couldn't bear the thought of saying "If only I had..." at the start of a nuclear exchange.

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