VETERANS FOR PEACE COMMEMORATES THE END OF WW1 AND CELEBRATES PEACE
On November 11th, Veterans For Peace will honor the original intent of Armistice Day, now called Veterans Day, with a ringing of bells at St James Cathedral, Seattle. This Armistice Day, VFP calls on theU.S. public to say no to more war and to demand justice and peace, at home and abroad. This November 11th, 10:30 AM, on the south side of St James Cathedral, 804 Ninth Ave Seattle (First Hill) Veterans for Peace will join with others at for a ceremony that will include a short statement on Armistice Day, the ringing of the bells, a moment of silence, and some readings commemorating the spirit of the day. White “Peace Poppies” will be handed out to commemorate all the victims of all wars.
St James Cathedral continues a tradition of bells commemorating Armistice Day, and Veterans for Peace continues its support honoring the original purpose of the holiday. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, 1918, the guns finally fell silent on the Western Frontof WW11, ending the slaughter that took the lives of seventeen million people. In November 1919 President Wilson signed a proclamation commemorating the end of the war which stated “…the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride for those who died in the country’s service…” and in 1926 the US Congress passed a resolution stating “it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed toperpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations…”
In 1938 Congress made November 11th a legal holiday, celebrated as Armistice Day and dedicated to the cause of world peace and honoring veterans but after World War II, the U.S. Congress decided to rebrand November 11 as Veterans Day which turned a day to perpetuate peace into a day of militaristic displays, patriotic jingoism, a one day” thanks for your service”, a free meal or store discounts. The poet Wilfred Owen, killed on November 4th 1918 wrote in a poem entitled Dulce et Decorum est a quote from the Roman poet Horace. Owen calls it the” old lie” that “It is sweet and proper to die for one’s country”. Another poet, Rudyard Kipling, wrote on the death of his son John . “If any question why we died, / Tell them, because our fathers lied,”.Too often rhetoric and patriotic symbols are used instead of genuine compensation for the extraordinary sacrifices and services of military personnel. And since 90 percent of the victims of wars are now civilians, by honoring only veterans, the public is distracted from the awful price paid by those other than veterans. Armistice Day celebrations have always honored veterans. Veterans Day celebrations should also remember that peace was something for which soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen gave their lives. “There is no way to peace; peace is the way” A.J. Muste