Letter: Celebrate Veterans Day with peace in mind

Graphic by Lori Deaton

This month we celebrate Veterans Day, a day originally called Armistice Day in 1918, dedicated to the end of World War I and a universal hope among united Americans for no more wars. We can honor our military, but let us keep in mind the tragedies that war brings to us at home and abroad.

In November 2016, the Mountain Xpress cited Jeff Futch, who [talked about] a World War I exhibit in the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh: “Futch says many of the changes the war brought to WNC laid the groundwork for institutions and beliefs.” And today’s wars also lay the groundwork that affects our children and the future of the United States.

Please note: “Since 1999, there have been 5,273 U.S. military deaths along with the underreported tragedy of 128,480 veteran suicides during this same period,” something that should give us pause as we honor those who give their lives to protect a way of life that is now politically divisive and dysfunctional.

We see today how war influences and changes society. The Veterans for Peace organized to demonstrate for peace when our country justified a pre-emptive attack on Iraq for false reasons. Today they continue vigils on Tuesdays around 5 p.m. in an effort to keep the issue of peace before the public. Recently another group, the Carolina Veterans Peace Coalition, has formed in Hendersonville. They have held vigils at the Charles George veteran health care hospital to draw attention to veterans’ needs.

Both groups call for Americans to observe Veterans Day in keeping with the original intent of Armistice Day: “A day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be … celebrated as Armistice Day.” This calls for the rejection of the glorification of war and the suffering it brings to those at home and abroad.

— Ed Sacco
Asheville

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One thought on “Letter: Celebrate Veterans Day with peace in mind

  1. Phillip Williams

    Mr. Sacco – President James A. Garfield, who had served as a Union general during the Civil War, once said “Of course I deprecate war – but if it is brought to my door, the bringer shall find me at home.”

    I agree that peace should be considered one of humanity’s noblest goals – but not at all costs. It is ironic that the world’s reaction to World War One – the Great War – the War to End All Wars – was one of the root causes for World War Two and the Cold War.

    The World was justifiably sickened and horrified by the loss of the flower of a generation in the mud and blood of Flanders – so much so that everyone pretty much turned a blind eye to the rise of Adolf Hitler and the Nazis – trying to justify this in the hope that a militarily strong Germany might serve as a bulwark against Communist Russia.

    Folks like Sir Winston Churchill, who saw this in the offing, were derided as warmongers and relegated to the political backwaters.

    Being prepared for war is not glorification of war. Nor is peace ever, ever, ever, worth “any price”.

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