During this 42nd anniversary month of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we carry on as if all were normal. We have redefined "normal" to mean we calmly manufacture 35 atomic bombs per week. This is equivalent to more than 400 Hiroshimas waiting to happen, assuming each bomb is a very small 150-kiloton affair.

"Normal" also means we test a new bomb at least every three weeks; we deploy atomic bombs in every Navy, Army and Air Force group; we routinely purchase plans, clothing and equipment for surviving a nuclear holocaust; and we buy plans and equipment for fighting before, during and after a nuclear holocaust. When none of this makes us "secure," we conclude we must not have enough and accelerate the spiral. We believe it will all work, forever -- or we believe we have no choice.

All this is so normal that the anniversary does not call forth the most feeble objection from citizens, the medical community or churches. We cannot say no to death. Nothing can outrage us anymore. No threat to our life or liberty is great enough to seem a deviation from the status quo. Our papers carry no scorecard of bombs made, tests exploded, money spent. Yet, there is hope.

Our great hope is that many citizens are saying no with their heads, hearts and hands. They are creating bridges to other peoples; they protest weapons at great personal cost; they challenge lies and by their actions tell the truth at the Pentagon, at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, at the Peach Bottom nuclear reactor, in Congress and elsewhere. They support the Development Commission of Baltimore City to reduce military dependency and to train and employ workers in life-compatible jobs. They send their money or their bodies to say yes to life. This month, we should thank them. ARTHUR V. MILHOLLAND Physicians for Social Responsibility Baltimore