I am writing to you today about the long shadow of September 11, 2001 and the fact that our voice is still needed. More than 18 years have passed since the events of 9-11 changed so many lives so profoundly.
The repercussions of those events are still being felt for many very personally as well as very broadly across the nation and the world. Almost every realm of life for Americans and well beyond has been – and still is – being informed by the cataclysm of that day and by the repressive and destructive decisions which were made – and continue to be made – in the wake of 9-11.
9-11 has been used to justify wars that rage on, inhumane and illegal use of torture, imprisonment of detainees without charge, the never ending nightmare that is Guantánamo, a repressive immigration policy, heightened intolerance of those of different races, ethnicities or faiths, and use of surveillance of our own citizenry.
Fear is a destructive force and a mighty weapon when wielded by those in power. It can – and has – turned people against their own best interests and better judgment. It foments mistrust and leaves little room for understanding or cooperation and compassion.
Those of us who would become September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows had a choice to make. Rather than choosing to use our pain and anger as justification for acts of revenge and violence, we somehow knew this was not the life affirming choice we should or could make. This awareness placed a responsibility squarely – heavily – in our hands, a responsibility we did not always know what to do with or feel able to carry.
When our country, in its frenzied self-righteous anger, launched a first, then a second war to avenge the acts of 9-11, Peaceful Tomorrows spoke swiftly and clearly through the clamor for war that this was a lie we did not believe and could not abide.
We said, “Not in Our Name.”
In fact all of the violence and terror in all its forms has served instead to dishonor our family members and multiply the pain and suffering a million-fold for us and the people of Afghanistan and Iraq and ultimately of all the world.
Peaceful Tomorrows members continue to hold both their pain and its attendant responsibility solemnly and respectfully in our open hands. We see clearly that our voice has a necessary place in today’s troubled world.
I am forever grateful to be counted among these families. I am also pleased to welcome new members, young people who were not yet born or were infants in 2001, but whose lives were directly and irrevocably affected and who made the choice to walk the path toward more peaceful tomorrows with us.
We need you all, your support, financial and moral, and more importantly, your willingness to join us in saying “Not In Our Names” to the powers that would have us believe otherwise.
I believe a just world is possible, but only through compassionate understanding and a resolute willingness to find just, nonviolent solutions to the conflicts we face for not only ourselves, our nations, our species, but the entire interdependent web that makes this our one and only world.
In hope and gratitude,
Wife of Robert G. LeBlanc, killed on the second plane flown into the WTC