Two dozen marchers including the widow of a September 11 attack victim marched from Georgetown to the White House yesterday urging nonviolent alternatives to the war on terrorism.
“My name is Amber Amundson,” began a letter hand-carried to the White House by the wife of Pentagon victim Craig Scott Amundson. “I am a 28-year-old single mother of two small children.”
Her husband, the Iowa native says, was “murdered” on September 11 while taking a break from his job as a multimedia illustrator for the Army personnel command to work on birthday invitations for his 5-year-old son’s party.
“I am not doing well,” the letter says. “I am hurt that the U.S. is moving forward in such a violent manner I believe you have a responsibility to listen to me and please hear my pain.”
“I do not want anyone to use my husband’s death to perpetuate violence,” she wrote. “So Mr. President, when you say that vengeance is needed so that the victims of September 11 do not die in vain, could you please excuse Craig Scott Amundson from your list of victims used to justify any further attacks?”
Yesterday morning, Mrs. Amundson punctuated her point by joining her brother-in-law and two dozen others in what they called “A Walk for Healing and Peace.”
Apart from Mrs. Amundson, no other widow or widower of the 189 persons who died when terrorists attacked the Pentagon September 11 joined yesterday’s protest.
The walk started at the gates of Georgetown University and ended its first leg at the White House. The protestors then boarded a bus to continue their demonstration in Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City, where it will end.
Some who walked to the White House in the drizzle yesterday held signs bearing peace messages. “Our grief is not a cry for war,” read one. “Practice nonviolence,” read another.
“I’d like this to be a moral compass,” says Kathy Kelly, co-founder of Voices in the Wilderness and one of the march organizers. “It’s tempting to say that pacifism is irrelevant at this point. But this message gets more validity coming from those who are suffering such unbearable suffering. It is pretty typical when people suffer grief and loss over wars they can’t control. They don’t want it to happen again to others.”
Matt Barr, 21, flew from England to take part in the march and said it has been an “amazing” experience.
“This isn’t just anti-war,” he said. “This is about every person deserving to be treated with respect. One life isn’t worth more than another. We must remember that, especially after September 11.”
Mrs. Amundson said participating in the march has helped.
“It has given us an opportunity to grieve and speak about our pain and our hopes for nonviolence,” she said. It has given a way “to bring peace to my children,” she added.