Power to the Peaceful

This post is part of a collective tribute for September 11th. Click here for more Care2 stories on 9/11.

Every year on September 11, the American people are met with the great weight of remembering that notorious date. Collectively, we experienced an immeasurable tragedy when the World Trade Center buildings and the Pentagon were attacked. We endured tremendous physical and emotional trauma that day, losing nearly 3,000 innocent lives, leaving a deep wound we are still healing.

However, the immediate (and ongoing) reaction our government leaders have chosen — namely, violent and vengeful precipitation of war — is an unnecessary burden for the American people to bear. In declaring a “global war on terror” in the days, and now decade, that followed 9/11/01; the United States has focused a majority of its energy and wealth on a vast, unknown, umbrella enemy almost entirely of its own invention.

In ten years, the U.S. has launched subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (the longest in U.S. history), and countless other “counterterrorism” operations abroad; sacrificing the peace and prosperity of our own people, along with the victims of these wars. We are paying the price in the trillions of dollars and millions of human lives lost. Continuing the course at this rate will create more separation and suffering abroad, as well as here, at home.

The USA’s greatest resource remains our united citizens, who have patriotically preserved the most basic human rights, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” in other times of challenge.

In the wake of 9/11, patriotism (or, love and devotion to one’s country) soared to grand proportions. We found comfort in our common ground. We were uplifted by the brave displays of courage and compassion in response to crisis. We were strengthened by our solidarity, and found support in our communities.

For days, weeks, and months after 9/11, first responder fire fighters, police officers, and volunteer rescue workers, turned out in incredible numbers at Ground Zero — risking their own lives in an inspiring demonstration of human spirit shining through the dust and debris. But, the power of devotion and energetic potential of the moment was sadly displaced on the destruction of a foreign enemy.

As Einstein once said, you cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it. When we annually assemble on September 11, we would be wise to reflect on ways we can correct the course — as individuals and communities — teaching tolerance, and patriotically choosing peace, so we may again be proud to be Americans.

At San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, September 11 is commemorated by offering a free festival for the public, called Power to the Peaceful. Thousands of friends, families, and strangers gather in celebration of co-existence; and the freedom to sing, dance, and pray for peace in unity. As the founder of the festival, Michael Franti, explains in a song often performed at this event; “We can bomb the world to pieces, but we can’t bomb it into peace.”

We must always honor this anniversary as an opportunity to promote peace, love and understanding; shattering the illusion of fear and terror.

Image credit: DVIDSHUB via Flickr

This post is part of a collective tribute for September 11th. Click here for more Care2 stories on 9/11.

*Editor’s note: San Francisco’s Power to the Peaceful has been rescheduled for 2012.


Sharon Balloch
Sharon Balloch6 years ago

Albert Einstein " I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but world War IV will be fought with sticks and stones."

Bonnie M.
Bonnie M6 years ago

Indeed, as Michael Franti, explains in a song often performed at this event; “We can bomb the world to pieces, but we can’t bomb it into peace.”
So many lives are lost in the name of war- an act that wreaks destruction of life and property, leaves fathomless misery for warriors and victims as the spoils of war take its toll on human life, in all areas- physical, emotional , spiritual, mental and financial. YET... the war goes on as it drains all human and financial resources. It is the politics behind that fuels war.

Beth M.
Beth Mackey6 years ago

9/11 was terrible, but what our country has done since, following the deceitfulness of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and others, together with the compliance of the media, has surpassed the evil perpetrated by those nineteen men. Shame on us for furthering the mindset of war, instead of peace. Shame on us for pretending to be a Christian nation, when Jesus asked us to turn the other cheek. The condition our nation is in is a direct result of our vengent behavior. May God indeed help us.

Shalvah Landy
Past Member 6 years ago

"As Einstein once said, you cannot solve a problem from the same consciousness that created it."
I did not know this but totally agree!
Why was the San Francisco 'Power to the Peaceful' festival rescheduled for 2012?

David K.
David K6 years ago

All the understandable concern about the horrific attack on US on 9/11 should not lose sight of the same date over a decade earlier when the US CIA assisted the Pinochet murder of Chile's elected president Allende which led to the murder of an even larger number of Chileans. I hope all Americans do not forget this also.

Phyllis s.
Phyllis S6 years ago

Move forward without hate . Keep remembrances dignified and private . end this circus . Those of us that live here need to move on .

Norma V.
Norma Villarreal6 years ago

Grant dignity and respect to one another and keep on healing.

Tim Cheung
Tim C6 years ago


Anni Walker
Anni Walker6 years ago

This day is etched in my memory and my heart forever.....may we never forget.May we strive for for w/our enemies!

Patricia Hughes
Patricia Hughes6 years ago

Peaceful Tomorrows is an organization founded by family members of those killed on September 11th who have united to turn our grief into action for peace. By developing and advocating nonviolent options and actions in the pursuit of justice, we hope to break the cycles of violence engendered by war and terrorism. Acknowledging our common experience with all people affected by violence throughout the world, we work to create a safer and more peaceful world for everyone.

1. To promote dialogue on alternatives to war, while educating and raising the consciousness of the public on issues of war, peace, and the underlying causes of terrorism.
2. To support and offer fellowship to others seeking non-violent responses to all forms of terrorism, both individual and institutional.

3. To call attention to threats to civil liberties, human rights, and other freedoms in the U.S. as a consequence of war.

4. To acknowledge our fellowship with all people affected by violence and war, recognizing that the resulting deaths are overwhelmingly civilian.

5. To encourage a multilateral, collaborative effort to bring those responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks to justice in accordance with the principles of international law.

6. To promote U.S. foreign policy that places a priority on internationally-recognized principles of human rights, democracy and self-rule.

7. To demand ongoing investigations into the events leading up to the Se