2C: the FCNL Staff Blog

What Will We Do on 9/11/11?

By Joe Volk on 09/07/2011 @ 06:00 PM

Tags: September 11

Joe Volk

Former Executive Secretary Joe Volk shares his thoughts on the 10th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

On this tenth anniversary of 9-11, what will we do?

First, we will remember those innocent women, children, and men who were murdered by the terrorists. From many different faiths and reflecting multiple ethnicities and nationalities, as a group, they represented the world. They were innocent, ordinary people going about their daily lives, and they should have been safe and secure.

On this tenth anniversary of 9-11, we will mourn their deaths and the deaths of the first responders, too. We will grieve with the survivors and their families. We have worked to support our country’s aid and assistance to them and will continue to do so.

Those 19 terrorists hijacked civilian airliners and turned them into bombs and then sent those bombs into civilian targets. Our message to the attackers and their cohort, then and now, is: What you did was a terrible crime. You cannot put the moral scales in balance by killing innocent civilians. You cannot right the world’s wrongs with the barrel of a gun nor with ingenious bombs. War Is Not the Answer.

On the tenth anniversary of 9-11 we will tell each other stories in response to the universal question, “Where were you on 9-11?” Ten years later, almost everyone can answer that question in detail.

Me? I was in Iowa on an FCNL speaking tour with Jonathan Fisch. Very early that morning, we were in a diner with farmers. We did what the farmers were doing: watching a radio personality broadcast live from another table in the dinner, as he did regularly. All of us were shocked by his news report. It said a plane had hit one of the twin towers at the World Trade Center in New York.

My interview was next on his program. As I took my seat the commercials ran, he opened with the question: accident or attack? I replied that it was too soon to know, and we should wait on more information. Too soon, we had more information. Another plane had hit the other tower. He asked me what will happen now? I said, in the immediate sense, planes will be grounded, but, in the larger sense, we can’t know what will happen. He closed the interview, saying that he was being called by to his station.

In the larger sense, we now know what happened: Endless war. A front page story in the September 5 Washington Post declares, “This is the American era of endless war.” The article quotes the President of the U.S. Institute of Peace, Richard Solomon -- a Westtown Friends School graduate -- “Peace doesn’t reflect the world we are dealing with.” They said he suggested a name change: the U.S. Institute for Conflict Management.” Even the institution in Washington dedicated to peace is too timid to advocate peace. Endless war has cowed them.

On this tenth anniversary of 9-11, what will we do? We at FCNL will take a message -- with the help of our friends around the nation -- to the U.S. foreign policy establishment in Washington: War is not the answer, and peace is possible through peaceful means.

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