Working towards peace and sustainability

Monday Memorial for All Who've Died in Iraq

It is with heavy heart that we inform you that the 3,000th U.S. GI has died in Iraq today. The grief the family and loved ones of this, as yet unnamed person, will be feeling is a reflection of the sadness and suffering experienced by the countless families, friends and communities of all who've died in Iraq--Iraqis, Americans, Brits and others. The Iraqis, of course, have paid the highest price, with at least several hundred thousand deaths, mostly innocent civilians, as well as millions of other lives disrupted, families separated, people made homeless or refugees, as their country has been invaded and occupied in a brutal and illegal war of aggression launched by our own government.

This war must end, and we, the American people, must take concrete steps now to end it.

TAKE ACTION--COME TO THE MEMORIAL: First of all, if you are in town, we encourage you to alter whatever plans you have, if at all possible to attend a 30-minute Memorial for All Who've Died in Iraq. This candlelight gathering will be held from 5:30-6 p.m., Monday, January 1 at the war monuments outside the Boone County Courthouse at 8th & Walnut. As many are out of town for the holidays, it is essential for as many of us as are able to attend to do so.

NEXT, MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD: It is also essential for all of us to demand accountability from our elected officials. We want them to END THE WAR, NOT ESCALATE IT. The idea of a troop "surge," sending in an additional 30,000+ troops makes no sense at all. It will only inflame an already awful situation and lead to more loss of life and limb.

We strongly encourage you to call the offices of your elected officials to share your concerns:

Senator-elect Claire McCaskill: 314-918-8683
Senator Kit Bond: 442-8151 or 202-224-5721
Representative Kenny Hulshof: 449-5111 or 202-225-2956
President Bush: 202-456-1111

If you have a different U.S. Rep than Kenny Hulshof, you can find the contact info for your Rep at www.mosafeenergy.org/officials.

We suggest calling, as calls are harder to ignore than e-mails, or faxes. If you would like to write instead, you can find contact info at the link above. We also suggest that letters to elected officials be posted as open letters via letter-to-the-editor columns. If you'd like to do this, you can find info on how to send letters to all of Missouri's daily papers at: www.mosafeenergy.org/papers

MAKE PEACE VISIBLE NOW: We also encourage you to help make peace more visible continuously here in mid-Missouri. If you don't have one already, please come by the Peace Nook to get a "Neighbors for Peace" yard sign to put in the front yard of your house or your apartment or dorm window. Please display peace sentiments with bumperstickers, pins and in as many other ways as you can. Please come out to our weekly Rush Hour Peace Demonstrations. We hold these every Wednesday, 4:15-5:45 p.m. at Broadway & Providence. It's fine to come for any portion of the time you can. If coming weekly isn't feasible, aim to come at least once a month. We also encourage attendance at the 10-11 a.m. peace vigils at the Columbia Post Office each Saturday, and Women in Black over the noon hour each Tuesday at MU's Speakers' Circle.

We really need to turn up the volume and get the message to come home to our elected officials that the people of Missouri and the whole country want this war to end. We also need to let them know that we will be holding them accountable for further loss of life and the increased threat to our security that this ridiculous and tragic war is bringing.

We thank you for whatever you can do to further the cause of peace.