While many holidays are very similar from country to country, Marshall Islands has one that is surely rather unique. It’s called “Nuclear Victims Remembrance Day”, and its purpose is to remember the victims of the nuclear tests done in the Marshall Islands region during the 1950’s. The holiday is observed every 1 March.
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The background to Nuclear Victims Remembrance Day is the race for nuclear arms during World War II. It was critical that the US and Allies to obtain this technology before the Axis power, for the future of the whole world was at stake. But after the war, a similar nuclear race ensued between the US and USSR in the Cold War, and this is when testing began in the US Pacific territory of Marshall Islands.
Dozens of new weapons were tested in the area, and although uninhabited atolls were chosen for the test sites, many believe that dire health effects befell the people of the islands nonetheless, to say nothing of the impacts on nature. And at least on one occasion, on 1 March, 1954, fallout from a nuclear test spread visibly to nearby inhabited islands and beyond.
The purpose of this holiday is to call attention to the suffering of people in Marshall Islands due to residue of nuclear radiation. There are ongoing legal claims against the US on these grounds to this day, and the issue has no final resolution in sight.