FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
A Day of Remembrance, Sorrow and Resilience
A statement by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.
On this sacred day of remembrance, sorrow and resilience, we must not only pray for the dead of 9/11, but commit ourselves in their name and memory to work even harder for peace at home and abroad.
In a world full of terror, poverty and war, none of us are safe until all of us are safe.
As the nation commemorates the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks today with patriotism, tears and the mournful sound of tolling bells, Americans continue to die and kill in foreign lands as the so-called war on terror rages on. According to a CNBC report, “The U.S. has spent $1.5 trillion on war since Sept. 11 attack.”
Imagine the schools, hospitals, roads and hope that could be built with that blood money.
Meanwhile, at home, some 30,000 Americans every year are killed by a gun. Many more are wounded, like the three teenage boys fighting for their lives in a Chicago hospital.
The boys were shot in broad daylight Monday afternoon, just minutes after the school day ended. Two of the boys stumbled back inside the school before collapsing in blood and terror.
The principal told a local news station that the staff did not panic at the sight of these gravely wounded, terrified youth. It trains for such situations.
In urban America, school teachers and administrators have become first responders.
So far this year in Chicago, more than 2,100 men, women and children have been shot. Much of the city’s gun violence occurs in nine “endangered communities” where unemployment is around 20 percent and poverty rates hover at 40 percent.
“Poverty, urban problems and social progress generally,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said in a speech in 1967, “are ignored when guns of war become a national obsession.”
Violence and guns have become the American obsession at home and abroad. The obsession is killing our bodies, our spirits and our principles. Today, the leader of the free world pushes racist travel bans, trade wars and mass deportations. Today, children are snatched from their parents and caged on the border, access to affordable healthcare assaulted and voting rights and other civil liberties fall before our eyes.
As we remember the 2,977 people – Christians, Jews and Muslims – who lost their lives to terror and hate that fell from the sky on that cloudless September day 17 years ago today, we must also remember the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria who were killed in the so-called war on terror that followed.
They too are victims of 9/11.
Our nation, Dr. King said in 1967, “has not yet used its vast resources of power to end the long night of poverty, racism and man’s inhumanity to man.”
It is not too late. But we must use that power wisely and justly. We must use it to build bridges to the world, not walls. We must show the way for our children and put down the gun at home and across the sea.
We owe it to the dead of 9/11 and Iraq and the three teenage boys fighting for their lives in a Chicago hospital.
We must pray, march and fight for world peace and justice and an end to world terror and violence.
We must study war no more.