by Ryan Amundson
On September 11, my brother Craig was killed when a plane smashed into his Pentagon office. He left behind two young children and a wife who is terrified that other innocent people just like Craig will die in his name.
Many people assume that all victim’s families want revenge, but I have met many other victims’ families who don’t. We feel that nobody anywhere should ever have to suffer the pain we have suffered. We don’t think the current reliance on the use of violent military force will bring justice or make the world any safer.
Since military action is so often justified in our name and in the name of our lost loved ones, we have decided to stand up and speak for ourselves. To unite our voices and amplify our message, we have formed an organization called September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows.
Our position is indeed based on our emotions, but those who support war also base their position on emotions. The first time President Bush visited the Pentagon after September 11, he turned and said: “On the one hand I feel sad. On the other hand I feel angry, and it’s that anger that will bring resolution.” We feel differently than the president. We believe it is our sadness that we should look to for strength.
Nobody on either side can say with certainty what the “solution” really is. Using facts and logic, one can build a good case either for or against using military force. Which side you believe depends on where you put your faith. Do you put your faith in sorrow or anger? Love or hate? Nonviolence or violence? Breaking the cycle of vengeance or contributing to it? Asserting our power to change the world or submitting to the myths that make us slaves? Do we walk off the field or do we continue to play a spoiled game?
Although some may call us hurtful names in order to try to stop us, we choose not to put our faith in the very same belief system that caused the death of our loved ones. We choose to follow the way of peace.
If people want to take action in the name of those lost on September 11, let them work for peace and not war. Finding justice does not mean creating more destruction, but rather building a better world in which September Elevenths don’t happen.