Dear NileMedia Reader: The following letter was written barely a week after the terrorist strike against New York and the Pentagon. It is written by a young widow who lost her husband in the assault on the Pentagon, a man who left behind two young orphans. The majority of Americans want justice done, not a replay of the Gulf War. Let us pay tribute to the victims by creating a world where peace and justice are part of the air we breathe.
September 19, 2001
An open letter to our national leaders:
By Amber Amundsonbould
On September 11, as the world looked on in horror and disbelief, my
husband, Craig Scott Amundson, of the US Army lost his life in the line
of duty at the Pentagon.
Losing my 28 year-old husband and father of our two young children is a
terrible and painful experience. His death is also part of an immense
national loss, and I am comforted by knowing so many share my grief. But
because I have lost Craig as part of this historic tragedy, my anguish
is compounded exponentially by fear that his death will be used to
justify new violence against other innocent victims.
I have heard angry rhetoric by some Americans, including many of our
nation's leaders, who advise a heavy dose of revenge and punishment. To
those leaders, I would like to make clear that my family and I take no
comfort in your words of rage. If you choose to respond to this
incomprehensible brutality by perpetuating violence against other
innocent human beings, you may not do so in the name of justice for my
husband. Your words and imminent acts of revenge only amplify our
family's suffering, deny us the dignity of remembering our loved one in
a way that would have made him proud, and mock his vision of America as
a peacemaker in the world community.
Craig enlisted in the army and was proud to serve his county. He was a
patriotic American and a citizen of the world. Craig believed that by
working from within the military system he could help to maintain the
military focus on peacekeeping and strategic planning - to prevent
violence and war. For the last two years Craig drove to his job at the
Pentagon with a "visualize world peace" bumper sticker. This was not
empty rhetoric or contradictory to him, but part of his dream. He
believed that his role in the Army could further the cause of peace
throughout the world.
Craig would not have wanted a violent response to avenge his death. And
I cannot see how good can come out of it. We cannot solve violence with
violence. Revenge is a self perpetuating cycle. Gandhi said, "An eye for
an eye only makes the whole world blind." We will no longer be able to
see that we hold the light of Liberty if we ourselves are blinded by
vengeance, anger, and fear. I ask our nation's leaders not to take the
path that leads to more widespread hatreds - that make my husband's
death just one more in an unending spiral of killing.
I call on our national leaders to find the courage to respond to this
incomprehensible tragedy by breaking the cycle of violence. I call on
them to marshal this great nation's skills and resources to lead a
worldwide dialogue on freedom from terror and hate. I call on them to
focus our strength to work for justice and peace around the globe. I ask
them to unleash our country's immense energy to create a world in which
compassion and forgiveness are possible.
In these dark days of intense sadness, I have been inspired by the
lyrics from a Tracy Chapman album that Craig bought me when our first
child was born. She writes, "There's too much fighting, too little
understanding. It's time to stop and start all over, make a new
I do not know how to begin making a better world: I do believe it must
be done, and I believe it is our leaders' responsibility to find a way.
I urge them to take up this challenge and respond to our nation's and my
personal tragedy with a new beginning that gives us hope for a peaceful