Last week, a friend was driving her son to college, getting him ready for his first year. While on the way, the radio mentioned the upcoming tenth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. In the conversation about those attacks, she realized that he has, at best, a dim memory of the world before Sept. 11. He doesn’t remember a time when the country he lived in was not at war.

When I heard this story, it reignited my passion for transforming our current culture of militarism into a culture that seeks peace and security through respectful negotiation, reconciliation, education, and economic development. I want my grandchildren to know peace.

There will be many commemorations of the tenth anniversary of Sept. 11, each with a different take on the meaning of the event. Next month, on October 7, will be a less-noticed anniversary. It was ten years ago that day when we first invaded Afghanistan, launching the longest war in US history.    

Throughout the month, the American Friends Service Committee is hosting community events that highlight lessons from the past decade and call for a culture of peace built on justice. I invite you to join us. 

In some communities, we have art exhibits and concerts that invite reflection on the human cost of war abroad and here at home. These events bring to light major needs in our communities that have been neglected, while we have chosen to fund a decade of destruction and military expansion. AFSC is also participating in interfaith efforts to make sure all members of our communities – including our Muslim neighbors – feel welcome. 

Please check the calendar to find an event near you.

You are also invited to join us on Facebook and Twitter to share your reflections of ten years of war and your hopes for peace. 

While we are disappointed that our pleas for a nonviolent response ten years ago were ignored, we cannot give up hope. In our work around the world, we see that peaceful change among neighbors and communities is possible, even after decades of war and violence. We continue our witness and have hope that our leaders may soon learn the lessons of this lost decade and replace the failed policies of militarism with the tools of diplomacy and development.

Thank you for being a part of AFSC’s ongoing call for lasting peace. We appreciate your partnership.

Peace,

Shan Cretin, General Secretary, AFSC
Shan Cretin
American Friends Service Committee