Last Thursday, a quiet ceremony was held in front of Moore Library in memory of those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. The ceremony was hosted by Lawrenceville and Westminster SGAs and included reflections and readings from members of both campuses. A candle was lit for each of the eight members of the Rider community who died in the attacks. After a beautifully performed song by a small group of Westminster students, President Mordechai Rozanski and Dean of Students Anthony Campbell placed a wreath on the University Crest, in front of the library steps.
All over the country, there were most likely hundreds of ceremonies similar to ours. The attacks of 9/11 left the entire country in shock and devastation, but, more importantly, it hurt thousands of families whose loved ones were killed. Some of these families felt that the U.S.’s response to the attacks was not what their family members would have wanted. With this idea in mind, September Eleventh Families for Peaceful Tomorrows was created.
Although there were plenty of groups formed for a peaceful solution after the attacks started in Iraq and Afghanistan, Peaceful Tomorrows perhaps speaks the loudest. “In response to the terrorist attacks that killed our family members, we never wanted wars of retaliation that would cause the deaths of innocent civilians in other nations. We never wanted hunger for revenge to lead America to violate international law, abandon Constitutional rights, or engage in torture.” With this in mind, the group is now pushing towards reform in several countries.
Iraq is what Peaceful Tomorrows considers its “most hopeful” endeavor. The group is working with Iraqi citizens who have lived through the repression and invasion of their country, and yet are still committed to a nonviolent solution.
Another project that Peaceful Tomorrows has committed itself to is supporting fair trials and peacefully protesting military commissions, like the ones that occurred after 9/11. Of course, the group spoke out against the torture that occurred to 9/11 suspects. Its members feel that no Constitutional right should be broken, nor should military codes be ignored just because the circumstances were unique.
Peaceful Tomorrows is committed to spreading its message not only all over the country, but also all over the world. The group offers screenings of a documentary about its work with Iraq and how more people can get involved. Peaceful Tomorrows has even spoken on this campus in the past.
Some of Peaceful Tomorrows’ campaigns seem hard to fathom. For example, it is working with two other groups to shut down the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center within the first 100 days of the new administration. Although this may seem unlikely or, at the most, extremely difficult to accomplish, what the group is really pushing for is a new leader who will work to make these changes.
When it comes time to cast your ballot in November, try to keep in mind that a leader is now needed who can make sound decisions that do not aggravate other countries or the people of this nation. Moreover, the new president and his cabinet should adhere to the Constitution, no matter what the circumstances.
Written By Opinion Editor, Nadine Tester