Anti-War group hosts 9/11 memorial

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COLUMBIA - Mid-Missouri Peaceworks will host a gathering in downtown Columbia Monday at noon.

The gathering is called "No More Victims" to honor those who died 16 years ago in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 and subsequent wars related to the attacks.

Mark Haim, director of Mid-Missouri Peaceworks, said the event will focus on healing, reconciliation and prevention of future violence.

"We are, for the sixteenth year, observing the anniversary of 9/11, the horrible crimes of 2001 and calling for remembering and honoring the memory of everyone who died on that day and in the wars that the crime was used to justify. And we're calling for end to war, we're calling for no more victims," Haim said.

Mikaela O'Bar and Jesus Alejandro Carranza said they think the event will unify the community.

"I think that commemorating the sixteenth anniversary of 9/11 is valuable because often times in the history of our nation, we've neglected important events and important communities and, in doing so, we erase our own history," O'Bar said. "I think people realized that in order to move forward following the event, we're going to have to work together, and here we are making that happen."

"This will always be a part of our history. So I feel like we can never just forget it," Carranza said. "So these events help students, or peers, or families, just different communities in general learn about being together and working together." 

Haim and Carranza said they think the event will be beneficial to children, as well.

"We're  actually in a time where children are growing up learning this as like a history lesson instead of actually like living through it," Carranza said.

"We have children growing up right now who've lived with nothing but permanent war their entire lives and don't have even a perception that peace is possible. Well peace is possible," Haim said. 

Mid-Missouri Peaceworks is a local anti-war group that started in 1982. The independent organization started as started as a nuclear weapons free campaign then changed to Mid-Missouri Peaceworks in 1991.

The gathering will be co-sponsored by Veterans for Peace and the Fellowship of Reconciliation.

Mid-Missouri Peaceworks will hold the gathering by the keyhole sculpture in front of City Hall. Participants plan to bring signs and banners. There will be a silent reflection and members of the community calling for peace will speak.

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