We in America believe we live in a democracy where we are free to choose. Yet as Americans, most of us do not choose to raise our children to fight in wars of occupation. And we do not choose to have our tax dollars fund corporate wars. And we certainly do not ask those who serve in the military to risk their lives for anything other than to defend our constitution and our nation. Still the occupation of Iraq continues, and the war in Afghanistan rages into its tenth year, neither protecting the constitution nor our country’s citizens. It is as if someone, somewhere, has decided that we in America must live under a permanent war economy and that some of our families will have to be sacrificed and traumatized by war so that others may live in excessive comfort.
And, unfortunately, it seems as though those who commit us to these wars, our elected representatives, are not hearing our voices as we implore them to bring our soldiers home, to provide them with the highest quality health care available, and to desist from draining our
town budgets to wage these wars. Do the citizens of Maine realize that the annual war cost to them over the last nine years has been $325,000,000, that over this nine year period $2,940,000,000 of their tax dollars has been spent on these wars? Perhaps our representatives will listen to us if we take to the streets.
In that spirit, we in Veterans For Peace will commence a walk for peace this November 2-11. We will walk for nine days through rural Maine. We will not march. We will not demonstrate. We will walk to bear witness to the damage these wars have done to our villages and towns. To our families. We have listened to reports claiming that the burden of these two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has been disproportionately borne by those living in rural communities. We have listened to reports of the sky rocketing suicide rates
of soldiers serving in these wars. We have listened to reports of soldiers suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Brain Trauma Injury, and Military Sexual Trauma being redeployed into theaters of war multiple times.
Now we want to listen to our neighbors’ stories and accounts. We want to carry their narratives with us as we walk. We want to share them with Congressman Michaud and Congresswoman Pingree, with Senator Collins and with Senator Snowe. And we want to rebuild the social contract in this state between its citizens and its congressional representatives to ensure that our soldiers’ commitment to serving their country will not be abused and our hard-earned tax dollars not misspent.
We who will walk do not delude ourselves into thinking that our efforts will end the wars, nor do we imagine that our witness will completely alleviate the pain inflicted on our communities. But we assure our fellow citizens that our commitment to ending these wars, to healing the wounded, will be that much stronger from having entered their communities and hearing their voices. We ask our neighbors to join us for a mile or many, for an evening or two. We want to hear from them.
For more information about the VFP Peace Walk, please go to our website at http://www.vfpmaine.org/
Veterans For Peace