September 11th family members Ryan Amundson and Valerie Lucznikowska, who lost loved ones at the Pentagon and World Trade Center, are arriving in New York City aboard the Peace Boat, where they have been participating in an educational program highlighting peace and human rights issues.
Beverly Eckert, who lost her husband at the World Trade Center, will accompany them in a series of short speeches at Battery Park City alongside Japanese atomic bomb survivors, or Hibakusha, before leading the delegation on a visit to the “Ground Zero” site in lower Manhattan. The ceremonies begin at 11am, Friday, August 8, 2003.
The following day, Dawn Peterson, who lost her brother at the World Trade Center, will speak along with Peace Boat founding member Yoshioka Tatsuya at a “Ceremony for Peace and Disarmament,” commemorating those who were lost after the U.S. bombing of Nagasaki. They will be joined by other speakers including Amano Fumiko (a Japanese Hibakusha), Cora Weiss (President, Hague Appeal for Peace), and an array of international musicians and dancers. The concert will begin at 6pm, August 9, 2003, at Pilgrim’s Hill in Central Park (5th Avenue at 72nd St. entrance.) Receptions are also planned aboard the Peace Boat itself on August 8 and 10.
“During the last two months, I’ve become close friends with the other International Students coming from Palestine, Israel, India, Pakistan, Bosnia, Serbia and Cyprus as well as passengers and crew from all around the world,” said Ryan Amundson. “We’ve traveled together through Okinawa, Vietnam, Singapore, India, Kenya, Egypt, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal. Throughout my life I’ve been told that there can never be peace because people of different nations are so different. After meeting people from all over the world, I am certain of one thing: people everywhere are the same. It may sound naive, but not nearly as naive as believing the assertion that people are so radically different that we must accept violence as a way to solve conflict. It is so crucial for civil society to build bonds and work for peace.”
Amundson, Eckert, Lucznikowska and Peterson are members of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, an advocacy organization founded by family members of September 11th victims seeking effective, nonviolent solutions to terrorism. The group has just published a book entitled, “September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows: Turning our Grief into Action for Peace.”
Peace Boat works to promote peace, human rights, equal and sustainable development and respect for the environment. Its philosophy is based on the idea that all these aspects are inter-related, and that any problem faced by any community is a global challenge, which must be tackled through co-operation between peoples, organizations and governments of the world. (http://www.peaceboat.org/english).
September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows
P.O. Box 1818, Peter Stuyvesant Station, New York, NY 10009