From U.S. Peace Memorial
The Board of Directors of the US Peace Memorial Foundation voted unanimously to award its 2015 Peace Prize to The Honorable Kathy F. Kelly “for inspiring nonviolence and risking her own life and freedom for peace and the victims of war.”
Michael Knox, Chair of the Foundation, presented the award on August 9 during an event to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the U.S. bombing of Nagasaki. This Nagasaki day event, hosted by Pace e Bene and its Campaign Nonviolence, was held on the stage at Ashley Pond, Los Alamos, New Mexico. This is the place, geographically, where the first atom bombs were constructed.
In his remarks, Knox thanked Kelly for her service, great courage, and for all that she has sacrificed. “Kathy Kelly is a consistent and clear voice for peace and nonviolence. She is a national treasure and an inspiration to the world.”
In addition to receiving the 2015 Peace Prize, our highest honor, Kelly has also been designated as a Founding Member of the US Peace Memorial Foundation. She joins previous Peace Prize recipients CODEPINK Women for Peace, Chelsea Manning, Medea Benjamin, Noam Chomsky, Dennis Kucinich, and Cindy Sheehan. Nominees considered by the Board this year include Jodie Evans, Dr. Glenn D. Paige, Coleen Rowley, World Beyond War, and Ann Wright. You can read about the antiwar/peace activities of all recipients and nominees in our publication, the US Peace Registry.
Upon learning of the award, Kathy Kelly said, “I’m grateful for the US Peace Memorial Foundation’s recognition of realities about war and peace. War is worse than an earthquake. Following an earthquake, relief teams from around the world assemble, helping find survivors, comforting the afflicted, and initiating reconstruction. But as wars rage, many people watch the killing on television screens, feeling helpless to make a difference. Worse yet, many people sense with queasy discomfort that they themselves helped supply the weapons being used.
It’s hard to look in the mirror and see lost opportunities to be peacemakers. But we can become rehabilitated, as a society, transformed from a menacing, fearsome empire in decline into a society that earnestly wants to align with people dedicated to building peaceable societies.”
Kelly continued, “During a recent trip to Kabul, after listening to young friends envision growth of the street kid’s school they’ve begun, I felt a blend of relief and anxiety. It’s a relief to behold the youthful resolve which has enabled children from three different ethnic backgrounds to join under the same roof and learn, together, to read. It’s a relief to know that in spite of the fissures and the torrents of violence and despair, our young friends feel determined to persevere.
But I was anxious as to whether or not internationals would find the wherewithal to fund the school. In a moment of pique, I raised my voice and insisted to my young friends that all of the countries who’ve fought in Afghanistan, and most especially the U.S., should be paying reparations. ‘Kathy,’ Zekerullah gently admonished me, ‘please don’t make people in your country feel guilty. Don’t you think most people would rather build than destroy?’”
Kelly concluded, “Zekerullah would deftly assure us that even as one hand holds a mirror for us to look into, the other offers to reassuringly balance us, hold us, steady us. The US Peace Memorial helps build this steadying influence, urging us to keep one foot planted amid people bearing the brunt of war, and one foot just as firmly planted amid those who nonviolently resist war making. The US Peace Memorial Foundation helps us find our equilibrium, helps us rise.”
The US Peace Memorial Foundation directs a nationwide effort to honor Americans who stand for peace by publishing the US Peace Registry, awarding an annual Peace Prize, and planning for the US Peace Memorial in Washington, DC. These education projects help move the United States toward a culture of peace, as we honor the millions of thoughtful and courageous Americans and U.S. organizations that have taken a public stand against one or more U.S. wars or who have devoted their time, energy, and other resources to finding peaceful solutions to international conflicts. We celebrate these role models to inspire other Americans to speak out against war and for peace.
Please help us continue this important work. Join the Peace Prize recipients as a Founding Member and have your name permanently associated with peace. Founding Members are listed on our Website, in our publication the US Peace Registry, and eventually at the National Monument.