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Students Speak Out About the Tour

From New York City high school students, March 2017

“Thank you for coming to our school. I appreciate that Lyle (the veteran) shared his experience with us. It opened my eyes about the military because I didn’t know any of the stuff you shared with us. Your story made me realize how cruel the military can be. Also, you’re brave and kind-hearted for thinking about other people’s lives. The pamphlet also was very helpful because I’m a girl and even though I never thought of going into the military, I have many friends who wanted to go. But now that I shared the information with them, they know what happens there and now they won’t go.”

“Not too long ago my dad called me and asked, ‘Did you sign any papers for the Army?’ I told him no, I hadn’t and asked him why he was asking me such a question. He then told me that he received a letter from the Army asking me if I want to join the Army. I was thinking about it for a while because it says that if I join I will get help from the Army for college. I also heard customers in the store talking about making a living after you finish the Army which added more to my thinking. However, listening and understanding your story, I feel like there are other ways to get to college. I also understand what it means to join the military. Once you do, your body is not yours. It will only be used for the military. If something happens to you, your family might get money and that’s it.”

“I really appreciate you guys coming and taking your time to educate us about the military. I always hated war and I always asked myself why people fight and who benefits from war. I think you guys answered that and now I feel like countries that have more money are spending all their money on arms and not on their people. I’ve been against the wars for a long time but I never knew there was someone else or a whole community that is against the wars and helping stop people from going to war.”

“I always thought that the military was a place where men get stronger, responsible and respectful. However, your story and what you told us made me realize how bad it is. Honestly, I still believe that is different is certain places, but now I have many doubts. If I had to advise someone about going in the military, I would say no. Thank you so much for opening my mind. I thought you go there to fight for your country in a way that you can be honored. But no, I’d rather stay home instead of being part of discrimination and dehumanization. They should stop discrimination but they are teaching it. I think it’s so wrong to be part of this thing. People shouldn’t die due to wrong teachings. Thank you again. It was really helpful.”

“Many people like me have been blind-sided by the military. There is a sense promoted by the military to show people that joining that military is a form of love of a person for his country. You guys have exposed the truth that goes on behind closed doors. Many people are offered many military privileges which make them want to join the military. Telling people the truth about what really goes on during the wars and at the camps is such an eye-opener to a lot of us. Once again, thank y’all.”

“When the veteran told about how they use the word ‘haji’ at boot camp, I got offended because, as a Muslim, I can’t watch and look at others make fun of my religion. Overall, I thank you for inspiring me and revealing the truth about the military.”

“I am grateful for you letting me know about what’s going on in the military. Honestly, I never knew until you told me. I have to let my brother know about this because he has a plan of joining the Army. At first I thought the Army was a good career for my brother until I realized how racist it is to other people.”

Note on JROTC, June 2016

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 and 2016.  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 university students in New York City, February 2016

“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.  The presentation 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.”