For the first time since we began the program in 2008, we were able to schedule a speaker for students enrolled in Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (J-ROTC) classes in 2015. Some very thoughtful questions were asked of the veteran about the “Collateral Murder” video which had been viewed by those students. “Why did they kill children?” “Why did they talk about people in Iraq in such a messed up way?”
From some university students in New York City:
“I liked that this class was taught by someone with real experience in the military and life after it.”
“I liked how honest the speaker was. He did not shy away from the truth.”
“I thought the presentation was extremely enlightening and even shocking – the info was honest and hit home.” Regarding the “Collateral Murder” video: “I did not have this perception and it frightened me that I hadn’t seen it.”
“I was not fully aware but had envisioned the military to be cruel. It did not change my views but allowed me to further express anger towards the military and war.”
“I was not fully aware of the realities and was deeply disturbed (by the video). It made me question the good intentions of the military.”
“I like how honest John (the veteran) was. It was really refreshing to hear someone speak from the heart about issues concerning men and women in the military.”
“I knew that there’s always more than the government lets on. The presentation confirmed what I thought about the military. There’s needless violence and a lack of support for the troops.”
From a student in San Jose, who wrote this after the We Are Not Your Soldiers tour reached his school:
“I went to get lunch at school and right in front of the cafeteria were 15 military recruiters and prizes. After I saw what the war was really like, I went to the activities director and she said I could have an antiwar protest, bullhorns and banner. So I’m going to start up a club and prepare so I get as many kids as I can to resist.”
From students in Los Angeles, after watching testimony of Iraq vet Jon Turner on the We Are Not Your Soldiers tour:
“What Jon was saying, it impacted me because we as teenagers knew about the Marines, Navy etc, is that we will get money for college, have a good experience but never know about the reality that soldiers go through.”
A student in San Francisco, wrote this after seeing the Tour
“I know someone in the military. He is still surviving in it. He always says he is not a bad person. He is very depressed and sad but I love him… My friend (in the military) would be devastated if someone asked me to join/sign up for the military… because war and killing people is wrong and it needs to stop.”
Poem by a student in Chicago after watching the We Are Not Your Soldiers presentation
We are not your soldiers,
Miss American military.
We are misdirected and misadjusted followers
Accommodative, silent citizens who don’t speak against your
Army Strong announcements
of misinterpreted mass destructions.
We are not your soldiers,
Though we march mechanically,
Strangle sand cities into surrendering with
Suffocating bullet shells
Creating inescapable hells in the passageways
Of our permanent post-traumatic minds.
We chose to listen to our sergeants over
Decisions have a price, but these are prepaid
So we carry out orders.
Feeling injustice tickle our conscience,
We throw hand grenades to blow the guilt away.
If we were really your soldiers,
We would be able to sleep at night,
But we are mere puppets, private political property.
Pull our strings to make our trigger fingers dance.
In these far away lands, we are many things
Transformed into savages by the battles we’ve seen.
But we will never