Why I say thank you for working for peace

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In 2003, my brother-in-law’s little brother Michael was killed while serving in Iraq. He was 25, aggressively friendly, and loved punk rock. He was proud of his service, and by all accounts loved the Iraqi people he worked with during his deployment. His chief complaint was never having enough clean socks. He was killed on the road between Mosul and Tikrit.

His death devastated everyone who knew him. Both Michael’s family and mine have members in the military, but nothing can ever prepare anyone for that knock on the door or that phone call telling you your loved one is never coming home.

I rarely talk about Michael in my anti-war work. It’s painful, but also in the age where the United States fields a relatively small, all-volunteer military, many people simply don’t know servicemembers or their families, so it is easy to feel isolated. But as our government marches us closer and closer to a needless, devastating war with Iran, I wanted to share his story — so that I could tell you how much your activism means to me and families like mine. Every email you send and phone call you make means the world to me. Because activists like you give me hope that we can shut down the corrupt and violent system that sends young people to war.

Memorial Day holds a special place not just for families like mine, but for all of us in the anti-war movement. It’s a time for us to reflect on the human costs of war, and to remind ourselves why our work is so urgent.

At Win Without War, we always close our emails with the phrase ‘thank you for working for peace,’ and this weekend I want to reiterate that thank you. We are in a dangerous time and every voice raised matters. Even though our challenges seem overwhelming and the forces for war are mighty, we must not give up — because the costs of war are just too high. Because in these times, we just have to win peace — and when we join together, I think we just might be able to.

Thank you for working for peace,