I applaud Mountain Xpress for giving us an opportunity to glimpse and understand various motivations and opinions of veterans [June 28 issue]. It reveals the human side on a personal level and helps us to understand veterans’ military experience, bringing us closer together. Hopefully, Mountain Xpress will continue this by reaching out to the local activists in groups such as Veterans for Peace and Reject Raytheon, and covering events like the International Day of Peace, expressing a broader experience of the practice of nonviolence and peacemaking.
For example, on July 8, various local groups participated in the second annual 24-hour Peace Wave, a global campaign for peace education. This featured peace actions in the streets and squares around the globe. We are not alone. This continues the ongoing practice that dates back to July 9, 1955, when 11 scientists, including Albert Einstein, warned that a choice must be made between war and human survival.
The warning is taken seriously by local Asheville peace workers who have participated in the International Day of Peace over the past several years. This highlights a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to peace and contribute to creating a culture of peace established in 1981. In 2022, 91 countries initiated 846 celebrations of the International Day of Peace. This year’s local action will be held on Sept. 21 and 23.
Celebrations like the International Day of Peace are efforts to overcome misunderstandings — not against people, but against misplaced fear, war-making, lack of awareness and experience. On a personal level, I am unwilling to delegate my ethical, political and spiritual worldview to a militarized nation that builds weapons of mass destruction, thus depriving citizens of our social needs for families, children and hardworking folks.
I believe nonviolent actions for peace, justice and a united society are a high form of patriotism. There are powerful stories about truth overcoming lies and waging peace: a goal against hatred, manipulation, misplaced fear, greed and apathy. The goal is a society with equity and justice for all, creating communities where every person’s potential may be fulfilled.
Do yourself and our country a favor in some small way that will address a higher cause. Our task is to learn how we can best live together. Read, study, reflect and join others in conversations. Learn what it is to be human in a caring society. There is nothing stopping you from picking up a book, reading magazines or viewing talks on YouTube. Opening the mind helps one to become more curious, less fearful, more confident and your life more fulfilling.
Reflect on what your life will be like 20-30 years or so in the future. You very likely will be more disappointed in things you did not do than the things you did. History moves forward, not backward or sideways. This specific moment will pass. It’s here, it goes, and it’s gone. The time is now to begin lifelong learning to do your little thing in our small corner of the world to make things better.
Join the International Day of Peace on Thursday, Sept. 21, at 5:30 p.m. at Ingles, 669 Haywood Road, for a walk, and on Saturday, Sept. 23, at the Land of the Sky United Church of Christ in East Asheville, 2-4 p.m., to combine our hearts and voices of the joys of peace in a nonviolent world. We’ll sing, dance and celebrate our vision of a world where respect and kindness flourish.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or challenge me if you wish, but please do your homework first.
— Ed Sacco