Pearl Jam and Honor Young’s Legacy By Urging Members to Read and Share “Last Letter”

Today, Tomas Young, one of the first Iraq War veterans to publicly speak out in opposition to the war, penned his "Last Letter" to former Vice President Dick Cheney and former President George W. Bush on the Iraq War and its legacy.  

In honor of Tomas Young and all of the veterans and active duty service-members in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, Pearl Jam and shared the following links with their fans and members, urging them to read Chris Hedges' piece "The Crucifixion of Tomas Young" and share Young's story.

View Hedges' article here:

View Young's last letter here:

"Our brave and incredible friend Tomas Young is dying. He asked us to pass along Chris's story along with his letter in the hope that --  as uncomfortable as it is -- people will take a moment to look death in the eye and remember him and the many others like him as more than a war statistic," said Nicole Vandenberg, Pearl Jam's longtime spokesperson.

In an email to their members below marking the 10th anniversary of the War in Iraq, also cited Hedges' article and honored Young's legacy.  

View the email below:


Dear MoveOn member,

The Iraq War began 10 years ago today.

MoveOn members helped fuel the most significant antiwar movement in 30 years before the invasion began. We saw through the deception and refused to buy the warmongering that the Bush administration was selling.

We locked arms with veterans who chose to speak out, longtime peace activists, and the few brave politicians who said no to war. We marched, rallied, and camped out. We held bake sales and vigils, and recruited a generation of progressive activists to pressure the politicians, the pundits, and our communities to stand up for peace. We made memories and friends as we demanded an end to the war.

This tidal wave of grassroots action—and the electoral work that followed—helped bring the war to an end. So today, we want to pause and ask: 10 years later, what's one moment you remember from the movement to stop the Iraq war?

Maybe it was a community meeting you attended, or a vigil at your place of worship. Maybe it was honking your car horn as you drove by the group of protestors who demonstrated in the park every Tuesday. Or maybe you were one of those weekly protestors.

Whatever your best memory, share your story and what it taught you. We will build a stronger progressive movement by learning from our past and telling our history the way we experienced it.

Click here to share one moment you remember from the movement to end the war in Iraq—and see what others are sharing.

We must also reflect on the 6,630 soldiers1—friends, family members, and complete strangers—we lost. The more than 100,000 Iraqi civilians.2 The thousands wounded or traumatized with scars that will take generations to heal. And the trillions of dollars wasted.3

Millions organized to prevent people from losing their lives, and to honor the people who survived. People like Tomas Young, the 33 year-old Iraq veteran who was one of the first veterans to speak out against the war. Tomas was paralyzed on April 4, 2004, five days after he was deployed to a country he felt we should never have invaded. Today, Tomas is at home with his wife in Kansas City, MO, where he's now in hospice care and awaits his last breath.4

Here's what Chris Hedges wrote about Tomas last week:5

Young will die for our sins. He will die for a war that should never have been fought. He will die for the lies of politicians. He will die for war profiteers. He will die for the careers of generals. He will die for a cheerleader press. He will die for a complacent public that made war possible. He bore all this upon his body. He was crucified. And there are hundreds of thousands of other crucified bodies like his in Baghdad and Kandahar and Peshawar and Walter Reed medical center. Mangled bodies and corpses, broken dreams, unending grief, betrayal, corporate profit, these are the true products of war. Tomas Young is the face of war they do not want you to see.

We organized because we never wanted Tomas and so many others to go to war, and we honor him by continuing to demand a rapid end to the war in Afghanistan, and stand up against any move to launch a military attack on Iran.

So the work continues. Right now, click here to share one memory from the movement to end the war.

Thanks for all you do.

–Anna, Joan, Garlin, Matt, and the rest of the team

P.S. You can support veterans who continue to bear the physical and psychological wounds from their service in Iraq. Please consider contributing to the Wounded Warrior Project—one of the groups helping those who served:


1. "Faces of the Fallen," The Washington Post, accessed March 18, 2013

2. "Iraq war killed at least 116,000 Iraqi civilians: study," The Raw Story, March 14, 2013

3. "Iraq war cost: $6 trillion. What else could have been done?," Los Angeles TImes, March 18, 2013

4. "The Crucifixion of Tomas Young," Truthdig, March 10, 2013

5. Ibid.

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