On June 13, malady 2002 two women who lost siblings in the September 11 tragedies will travel to Kabul, Afghanistan to offer their empathy and support to Afghan families who lost loved ones during the US military campaign.
Myrna Bethke and Kristina Olsen, both members of September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, will travel on a two-week interfaith delegation to Afghanistan organized by Global Exchange. The two women, who will meet each other for the first time in Afghanistan, intend to spread a message of compassion and understanding.
Myrna Bethke, a Methodist minister in Freehold New Jersey and mother of two, lost her youngest brother, Bill Bethke, in the World Trade Center.
“As a result of Bill’s death, I have been more convinced than ever of the need to work for ways to live justly in this world, and to work towards alternatives to violence,” said Reverend Bethke. “Going to Afghanistan is a way for me to be connected to that work.”
Kristina Olsen, a singer-songwriter and nurse from Newburyport Massachusetts, lost her older sister Laurie Ann Olsen Neira on American Airlines Flight 11.
Olsen shares her music as a prayer for healing and peace in our world. “I will offer my empathy, compassion and healing music as a way to help relieve suffering of the people in Afghanistan,” she explains. “This is the best way I know to honor the memory of my sister.”
Inspired by news of the January visit to Afghanistan of four others who lost loved ones on 9-11, Bethke and Olsen joined Peaceful Tomorrows this Spring. The Peaceful Tomorrows Afghan Sister Families Campaign seeks to educate Americans about the plight of innocent Afghans suffering due to US military action, and obtain financial assistance for the Afghan families. For more information, visit www.peacefultomorrows.org.