My son, Firefighter Timothy Welty, was lost in the line of duty at the World Trade Center the morning of September 11, 2001. He left behind a wife, two children and a devastated community of broken hearts. In the midst of widespread rage and calls for retaliation, I found a group called September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, dedicated to finding alternatives to violence. The pain we suffered was not what we wanted inflicted on other innocent families anywhere. We believed then and we believe now that anger and hatred only fuel the violence that erupts into tragedies like the one experienced.
Although we felt the same sense of anger and grief, we believed we could transform that energy into action for peace and justice. We traveled to Afghanistan, Jordan and Iraq with Medea's help, to build bridges with the people of those countries, and, like CODEPINK, we continue to work to raise public consciousness on issues of war, peace, and the underlying causes of terrorism.
The response to the tragic loss of life on 9/11 has resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Afghans and other innocent civilians, as well as the loss of thousands of our own troops.">"> Compounding the deaths of those precious souls will not bring Timmy or any of the victims back. Violence only breeds violence. Torture, domestic surveillance, and endless detentions will never make any of us safer. We need to continue to stand for the real path to peace and security, which starts with bringing our troops home and upholding the Constitution and the Rule of Law.
We are inspired by CODEPINKís Create, Not Hate campaign, because we believe in the power of individuals to change the course of history. We canít afford to leave our destiny in the hands of politicians. Please consider what you can do to create a better world. Will you pour your heart into a painting, a poem, a letter to a lawmaker, a conversation with someone different from yourself? Will you channel all of your outrage and hope into a song, a sculpture, a community meal? We have learned that action heals and transforms us and those we touch. Please find the form of action that will be most meaningful for you.
Here are some easy ways to get started:
Declare your intention to honor the victims of 9/11 by working for peace.
Download the Make [Peace] Not War flyer; take a photo of yourself with it and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org
Let us know what youíre doing to create a different world on 9/11/ 21, ten years from now. These past ten years have been deeply painful, let's make the next ten better by working together toward a more just, peaceful and sustainable world.
We stand on the shoulders of nonviolent activists who came before us, like the first US Congresswoman, Jeanette Rankin, who worked to eradicate war as an instrument of diplomacy and Martin Luther King who said, "Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows". Join with me in renewed efforts to hold leaders accountable, to disarm all forms of violence visited upon the planetís most innocent and vulnerable. Do it to honor Timmyís memory and most of all, do it for your own grandchildrenís future.
Timothy's mom, Peaceful Tomorrows member and CODEPINK supporter