Jim Murphy is a former member of FOR USA’s national council and was the 2012 recipient of FOR’s Martin Luther King, Jr award. Jim served as an Air Force Communications Specialist in Vietnam from 1966 – 68. Near the end of his second tour of duty, he was returned home with leg wounds, a medal of commendation, a Unit Citation, a Vietnam Service Ribbon, and a Purple Heart. Upon return, he got his degree in education and joined Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). During his career in education he became the dean at Westside Alternative HS in NYC where he spent 25 years working with at-risk youth. He started NY Vets Speak Out reaching 50+ schools per year on Truth-In-Recruiting. Currently he is the old vet for Veterans’ Sanctuary working with Iraq and Afghanistan vets who are in need.
What inspired you to become a FOR member?
In the Summer of 1990, when it appeared that the U.S. was going to engage in another violent and unethical war in Iraq, a few of us older Vietnam Veterans (Against the War – VVAW) were upset and trying to find support for our emotions. As we began our communication and getting the word out, I stopped by FOR in Nyack to see if we could meet there. Doug Hostetter greeted us and made us feel welcome. He even provided us with FOR coffee and the comfort of the ‘Peace Room’. We grew to 12 members and became the ‘Al Warren’ Chapter of veterans For Peace with Vietnam, Korean and WWII veterans. Al Warren was WWII and the Lincoln Brigade.
What is your proudest FOR moment?
Traveling to Iran in 2005 with Pat Clark and Luis Abreu and 10 others. I met with Veterans of the Iraq-Iran War which was fueled by the U.S. Military/Administration.
When did you find your peace witness most challenged and how did you respond?
Thanks to the support of organizations like the Fellowship Of Reconciliation, Vietnam veterans Against the War, Veterans For Peace, I don’t believe my ‘peace witness’ has ever been an issue.
What is the most critical issue we’re facing right now?
My biggest fear is the current racial division facing our country right now. I fear our current President being reelected and being supported by racist and violent groups.
What song, book, movie etc is inspiring you/giving you hope in this moment?
The music video “Glory” with John Legend and Common.