David KriegerAs a young man, faced with the Vietnam War, I learned to follow my conscience, rather than the path of least resistance.  I learned that the US government, or any government, can lie a country into war, but that it cannot prosecute that war without willing soldiers and a willing populace.  I learned that a government can order a young person to kill on its behalf, but it can’t force a young person to do so.  I learned that a single committed person, young or old, can stand against the US government and prevail.  I learned that war is a terrible and often senseless tragedy, and that there are no good wars.  I learned that wars are a foolish way to settle conflicts, and that nuclear weapons have made the potential destruction of war far more devastating.  I learned that peace is not the space between wars, but rather a dynamic social process in which change occurs nonviolently.  I learned that peace is not only an end but a means.  I learned that peace requires perseverance, as does any great goal worth struggling for.  I learned that we are all connected, with each other, with the past and with the future.  I learned that each of us has a responsibility to act for the common good and for generations yet to come, and that none of us has a right to give up on achieving a more peaceful and decent world.

David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.