Family members of September 11 victims from the Pentagon, World Trade Center and Flight 93 will spend their Thanksgiving holiday in front of the White House, demanding an end to war as a response to their personal and national tragedies. They will also recognize the continuing crisis facing Afghan families affected by the U.S.-led bombing campaign, as well as the countless Iraqi civilians who will die from the proposed military strikes against their country.
Peaceful Tomorrows’ Ryan Amundson, who lost his brother Craig at the Pentagon, said, “This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the compassion shown to my family, both from friends as well as strangers, following the death of my brother. I feel the best way to show my gratitude is to extend this compassion to victims’ families in Afghanistan who have also suffered as a result of the September 11 terrorist attacks.”
The organization has also announced its opposition to planned military action in Iraq. “The Bush administration has repeatedly linked Iraq to the crimes of September 11, even though no link has been proven,” said Peaceful Tomorrows’ David Potorti, who lost his brother Jim at the World Trade Center. ” We ask the administration to stop using the deaths of our family members as a reason to kill other innocent civilians already suffering under the regime of Saddam Hussein. As we gather this holiday to give thanks, let us behave like a great nation and choose a more practical and effective path.”
Members of Peaceful Tomorrows traveled to Afghanistan to meet with their civilian counterparts in January and June of 2002, and have lobbied Congress for the creation of an Afghan Victims Fund. In conjunction with Global Exchange, the group published “Afghan Portraits of Grief,” a report on 824 civilian casualties, which is available at www.peacefultomorrows.org. A third delegation of family members will visit Afghanistan in January 2003, along with members of Ground Zero Workers for Peace, a group of emergency workers opposed to war (email@example.com).
The Washington, D.C. vigil and fast at Lafayette Park are part of an ongoing Women’s Peace Vigil at the White House, continuing through March 8, 2003 ( www.unitedforpeace.org).