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