Now in our third year, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows continues to serve as a voice for those affected by terrorism, violence and war.
We remain committed to advocating for more choices, and better choices, than the ones our nation has made since the events of Sept. 11.
This week members of Peaceful Tomorrows gathered in Oklahoma City to mark the 10th anniversary of the Murrah Federal Building bombing (April 19, 1995). We are holding public discussions with Bud Welch and Frank Silovsky, who lost loved ones as a result of the bombing, and Susan Urbach, a survivor; Michael Berg, whose son, Nick, was murdered in Iraq in 2004; Wess Young, a survivor of the 1921 Tulsa race riot; and Father Michael Lapsley, a South African priest who in 1990 lost his hands and an eye to a letter bomb as a result of his anti-apartheid efforts.
All of us are asserting ways of moving beyond retribution and towards a world where terrorism, violence and war become obsolete.
The Oklahoma City events included the U.S. premiere of “The Forgiveness Project,” a British exhibit presenting real-life examples of those who have resisted revenge in response to terrorism, political violence, war and other injustices. The exhibit includes Mariane Pearl, widow of Daniel Pearl, the journalist beheaded in Pakistan; Oklahoma City resident Andrew Rice, who lost his brother David in the World Trade Center; and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who headed South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Our other activities this year include
• Connecting with victims of the March 11 train bombings in Madrid, and survivors of the 1936 bombing of Guernica, Spain, as we released the Spanish-language edition of our Peaceful Tomorrows book.
• Amplifying the civilian casualties component of the AFSC’s “Eyes Wide Open,” an exhibit of American combat boots representing military deaths in Iraq. Peaceful Tomorrows increased the total number of civilian shoes represented from 1,200 to more than 4,200.
• Joining with atomic bomb survivors, or Hibakusha, from Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference in New York (April 26-May 4) to reassert our goal of honoring the treaty and eliminating nuclear weapons.
• Lobbying Congress against HR-418, the “REAL ID” bill, which would add anti-immigrant provisions to unrelated legislation while doing nothing to increase our ability to identify or apprehend terrorists.
• Organizing “Stonewalk Japan,” a 340-mile walk between Nagasaki and Hiroshima in which we pull a monument to “the unknown civilians killed in war,” at the time of the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombings of those cities in 1945.
As we grow farther away from the tragedy that claimed our loved ones’ lives, the members of Peaceful Tomorrows remain committed to taking our message of “turning our grief into action for peace” to ever wider audiences as we continue working to insure that no family ever again experiences the losses we experienced on 9/11.