Terry Greene spoke at an Interfaith Vigil in Boston to Close Guantanamo and
Stop Torture, January 11, 2018
Good evening, I am here representing September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows , an
organization named after the remarks of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. that “wars are poor chisels
for carving out peaceful tomorrows,” our dynamic membership continues to grow and our
mission remains crucial. We comprise well over 200 family members who have joined together
to turn our grief into action for peace and justice.
My brother, Donald F. Greene, was among the passengers aboard United Flight 93 that crashed
in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after passengers retook control of the flight. Don was a licensed
pilot who would have been a great aide in flying the plane if it had been possible to do so. My
brother was a hero long before 9/11. He was kind and intelligent, and he joyfully cared for his
family. He worked for a company that promotes flight safety and sat on the Board of the
Corporate Angels Network (CAN), which flies cancer patients for free across the country to their
treatments on volunteered corporate flights. When I heard of his death I was in absolute shock. A
black hole opened in my life and for our family, and the world had lost a man who had been an
enemy to none and an asset to all.
Our members mourn deeply not only the ongoing loss we feel for those who perished on 9/11 but
also the many ways the tragedy has been compounded by the response to it in our country and
beyond our borders. We find it disturbing that patriotism, which has strengthened in me since the
attacks, has not been directed at protecting America at its core – its values and system of
government. Instead our country seems to have abandoned civil liberties and human rights, from
constitutional rights of freedom of religion to the right to a fair and speedy trial and humane
treatment, as principles we can no longer afford.
The aim of terrorism is to instill a fear so deep that the target society starts to destroy itself.
Policies rooted in fear and hate play right into their hands. Our greatness, our strength as a nation
lies in upholding our principles and protecting our system of justice and commitment to human
rights. Terrorists in their distorted thinking see destruction as power, while only compassion can
improve the world and honor our loved ones.
Indefinite detention, reliance on torture weaken America. We cannot afford a security that is not
rooted in the reality of what truly strengthens our nation. We will not abide using our loved-ones
memories to toss aside the values and the diversity of peoples that underlie what America, an
immigrant nation founded at its heart on a commitment to freedom of religion, stands for – what
truly makes it a great nation. We will not cede these values to the threat of terrorism or to
Hundreds of 9/11 families want America to stand by the rule of law and close the Guantánamo
detention center, end indefinite detention, and hold to account those responsible for the torture of
detainees. Showcase our greatness and secure our nation by promoting a strong, effective, and
humane system of justice.