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US Peace Memorial Foundation



The Idea


About Us



US Peace Registry

US Peace Prize



(Scroll down to see quotes under consideration)


The Foundation honors Americans who stand for peace by publishing the US Peace Registry, awarding the annual US Peace Prize, and planning for the US Peace Memorial in Washington, D.C.  The first two projects are ongoing and well developed.  It is now time to fully develop the concept of the memorial as a permanent stone national monument engraved with quotes from well-known Americans.


What is the purpose of the Memorial?


The Memorial will serve as a shared public symbol to remind all who visit – U.S. citizens and global guests – that Americans value peace.  Visiting the monument will be an educational experience, providing examples of peace advocacy and antiwar actions.  Ultimately, visitors will have the opportunity to recognize and internalize an important cultural value so that it becomes reinforced as a part of our public consciousness.  The monument will provide teaching opportunities that could help change U.S. culture by making us more aware of, and more comfortable with, our rich history of antiwar activity and peace advocacy.  It will be dedicated to those who have opposed war or proposed peaceful alternatives to U.S. aggression (Knox & Wagganer, 2009a).


How will quotations be used on the Memorial?


As the monument is currently envisioned, twelve walls, or facets, will contain engraved peace quotes from famous Americans including, for example, Benjamin Franklin, Martin Luther King Jr., Jeanette Rankin, Margaret Mead, Albert Einstein, Helen Keller, Jane Addams, Ernest Hemingway, and a variety of U.S. presidents.  The first tier of quotations will be easily visible from ground level, and will include statements from Americans whose fame and thoughts are likely to stand the test of time.  Quotes from lesser-known figures may be displayed higher up on the monument, where they could easily be viewed with a small telescope or binoculars.


How can you contribute to the selection process?


Our Founding Members can suggest well-referenced quotations for consideration and, as a group, help make decisions about the ones that will be chiseled on the monument and at what level.  The selections will also be included, with complete references, on our website and in our publication, the US Peace Registry.  Quotations must be short, poignant, and memorable statements made by U.S. citizens (or permanent residents) who are easily recognized by virtue of their prominent leadership roles, cultural contributions, and/or historical importance.


The Foundation is now accepting suggestions and comments from Founding Members.  A formal selection and prioritization process will be developed once we have the first 50 viable quotations.


If you wish to help our organization make these and other crucial decisions, and you are not yet a Founding Member, please join us at  Founding Members have their names permanently associated with the US Peace Memorial on our website and in the US Peace Registry; all names will eventually be electronically accessible at the national monument in Washington, D.C.




As new quotations are referenced and vetted, they will be posted on Facebook: and, as well as on Twitter: @USPeaceMemorial and Instagram: @USPeaceMemorial.  Founding Members are invited to like/join us on social media to provide comments.  The quotations listed below have undergone initial reference verification and are under Founding Member review and comment through social media.  We look forward to expanding the collection and including them in our publication of the US Peace Registry.  To send ideas, please click here.


1.  “War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.”

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963).


Kennedy, John F.  “Letter to a Navy friend.”  A Thousand Days: John F. Kennedy in the White House.  Schlesinger, Arthur M.  Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1965.  88.  Print.


2.  “We must devise a system in which Peace is more rewarding than War.”

Margaret Mead (1901-1978).


Gioseffi, Daniela.  Women on War: Essential Voices for the Nuclear Age.  New York: Simon & Schuster, 1988.  Print.


3.  “It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968).


King, Martin Luther, Jr.  “Acceptance Speech, Nobel Prize for Peace 1964.” Nobel Lectures Including Presentation Speeches and Laureates' Biographies Peace.  Vol. 3. Ed. Frederick W. Haberman, Amsterdam: Elsevier Publishing, 1972.  Print.


4.  The real and lasting victories are those of peace, and not of war.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882).


Emerson, Ralph W.  The Conduct of Life: Nine Essays on Fate, Power, Wealth, Culture, Worship, Etc.  New York: Scott-Thaw Co, 1903.  225.  Print.


5.  “[t]here was never a good War, or a bad Peace.”

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790).


Franklin, Benjamin, and Ralph Ketcham.  The Political Thought of Benjamin Franklin.  Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Pub, 2003.  Print.


6.  “I believe that the killing of human beings in a war is no better than common murder.”

Albert Einstein (1879-1955).


Einstein, Albert, and Alice Calaprice.  The Ultimate Quotable Einstein.  Princeton, N.J: Princeton UP, 2011.  258.  Print.


7.  “Strike against war, for without you no battles can be fought.”

Helen Keller (1880-1968).


Keller, Helen, and Philip S. Foner.  Helen Keller, Her Socialist Years: Writings and Speeches.  New York: International Publishers, 1967.  Print.


8.  Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all.”

George Washington (1732-1799).


Washington, George.  “Farewell Address.” A Patriot's Handbook: Songs, Poems, Stories, and Speeches Celebrating the Land We Love.  Ed. Caroline Kennedy.  New York: Hyperion, 2003.  34-40.  Print.


9.  “I am an anti-imperialist.  I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land.”

Mark Twain, pseudonym for Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835-1910).


Twain, Mark, and Jim Zwick.  Mark Twain's Weapons of Satire: Anti-imperialist Writings on the Philippine-American War. Syracuse, N.Y: Syracuse UP, 1992.  Print.


10.  “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, only as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.”

Dwight David Eisenhower (1890-1969).


Eisenhower, Dwight D.  Canadian Club.  Ottawa, Canada.  Jan. 1946.  Address.


11.  “We will not learn how to live together in peace by killing each other's children.”

Jimmy Carter (1924-  ).


Carter, Jimmy.  “Nobel Lecture.”  Peace 2001-2005.  Eds. Abrams Irwin and Scott London.  Singapore: World Scientific, 2009.  52-61.  Print.


12.  “Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime.”

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961).


Hemingway, Ernest.  “Introduction.”  Treasury for the Free World,  Ed. Ben Raeburn.  New York: Arco, 1946.  xiii-xv.  Print.


13.  “I'm fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in.”

George S. McGovern (1922-2012).


Anson, Robert S.  McGovern: A Biography.  New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1972.  179.   Print.


14.  “How can you make a war on terror, if war itself is terrorism?”

Howard Zinn (1922-2010).


Zinn, Howard.  “The Uses of History and the War on Terrorism.”  Speech given in Madison, WI. 5 Oct. 2006.  Posted in The Progressive.  17 Dec. 2006.


15.  “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.”

James Madison (1751-1836).


Madison, James.  Letters and Other Writings of James Madison: Fourth President of the United States. Vol. 4.  Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1865.  491.  Print.


16.  “… all war is a symptom of man’s failure as a thinking animal, ...”

John Steinbeck (1902-1968).


Steinbeck, John.  Once There Was a War.  New York, London: Viking Press, 1958.  9.  Print.


17.  No, I am not going 10,000 miles to help murder kill and burn other people to simply help continue the domination of white slavemasters over dark people ...

Muhammad Ali (1942-2016).


Taylor, Clyde.  Vietnam and Black America: An Anthology of Protest and Resistance.  Garden City, N.Y: Anchor Press, 1973.  Print.


18.  More than just an end to war, we want an end to the beginnings of all wars - yes, an end to this brutal, inhuman and thoroughly impractical method of settling differences between governments.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882-1945).


Roosevelt, Franklin D.  “[Undelivered] Address written for Jefferson Day.”  Read by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., 13 April 1945.  Radio broadcast.


19.  “A people free to choose will always choose peace.”

Ronald Reagan (1911-2004).


Anderson, Martin, and Annelise G. Anderson.  Reagan's Secret War: The Untold Story of His Fight to Save the World from Nuclear Disaster.  New York: Crown Publishers, 2009.  386.  Print.


20.  “... he who is the author of a war, lets loose the whole contagion of hell, and opens a vein that bleeds a nation to death.”

Thomas Paine (1737-1809).


Paine, Thomas.  Collected Writings.  New York: Library of America, 1995.  165.  Print.


21.  “From where the sun now stands I will fight no more forever.”

Chief Joseph, Thunder Traveling to the Loftier Mountain Heights (1840-1904).


Brown, Mark H.  The Flight of the Nez Perce.  Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1971.  407.  Print.


22.  “... as the War Office of the United States was established in a time of peace, it is equally reasonable that a Peace Office should be established in a time of war.”

Benjamin Rush (1746-1813).


Rush, Benjamin.  A plan of a Peace-Office for the United States.  Essays, Literary, Moral and Philosophical, 2nd Ed.  Philadelphia: Thomas and William Bradford, 1806.  183.  Print.


23.  Peace with all nations, and the right which that gives us with respect to all nations, are our object.”

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826).


Jefferson, Thomas.  “Letter to Mr. Dumas, March 24, 1793.”  The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. H. A. Washington, vol. 3, 535.  Print.



Check back often.  As new quotations are referenced, they will be added to this page and posted on Facebook and Twitter for Founding Member review.


*Note regarding references and context:  We recognize the risk of not taking history and context into account when reviewing potential quotations.  Without critical analysis, errors in selection could be made.  Before any quotation is finalized for inclusion on the national monument, it will be thoroughly researched and vetted.  The text will be referenced in Modern Language Association (MLA) citation style, as is standard practice for speeches, letters, and biographical works.  Prior to selection for placement on the US Peace Memorial, our Volunteer Research Librarian(s) will verify the authenticity of the quotation by locating it in a primary source.  Electronic sources will be verified twice, with one source being an original print source whenever possible.



US Peace Memorial Foundation, Inc. is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) public charity.

Donations to the Foundation are tax deductible to the extent provided by law.




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