Armistice Day commemorates the idea of ending all war -- a goal that was crystal clear to the people who suffered through WWI.
The problem with calling the day "Veterans Day" is that the day tends to become a celebration of the military, and of war, instead of what it was originally intended for: a warning AGAINST war.
Yes, taking care of veterans is a HUGE task and a priority. Michael McPhearson, Executive Director of Veterans For Peace, and a veteran of the Persian Gulf War, puts it in a nutshell: "Don’t thank me anymore . . . . Take care of us when we return home and work to end all war."
|Don’t thank me anymore . . . . |
Take care of us when we return home and work to end all war.
Executive Director, Veterans for Peace
Veteran of the Persian Gulf War
(Please retweet this message!)
"End all war." The original message of Armistice Day.
In fact, Veterans for Peace had a message about reclaiming Armistice Day that proved itself massively spreadable on social media . . .
|Veterans Day, Originally Called Armistice Day . . . |
To celebrate the end of World War I and the idea of ending all war.
Today, it seems, many of our leaders have forgotten that
war is illegal. We call for an end to all wars.
Veterans for Peace
Shared 11,764 times and counting ... share on social media.
VFP chapters around the country held local peace events in support of this idea:
|11/11/2015 VFP #NOwar|
Veterans Day 2015 - Veterans for Peace chapters in California, Oregon,
Washington, Montana, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Tennessee,
Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina,
Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire,
and other states held events to call for an end to all war.
What does this mean for the future?
Make no mistake: every year on November 11 there's a lot of noise.
Everyone loves to wave the flag.
|"A very happy #VeteransDay to all who have served|
and those who currently serve. #TheRealHeroes"
Sports teams seem to have a special affinity for the day.
|"On Veterans Day the Houston Astros honor|
and thank the heroic men and women . . .
It's a great day for selling stuff.
|Whataburger: "We're proud to serve those|
who have served our country. #VeteransDay
(A point that's not lost on the military.)
|US Navy: "On this #VeteransDay and everyday, we|
thank those who have answered our Nation's call."
It can end up being little more than another feel-good day in America.
|"Thank you for your service. #VeteransDay"|
But the thing to remember is this: People with a vision for peace can steer Armistice Day back to what it was originally intended for.
|Mike Prysner: "Proudest I ever felt wearing the @USArmy uniform,|
arrested w/ 100+ Iraq vets trying to stop the war. #VeteransDay.
(Please share this message.)
We just need to believe we can do it.
Please support the World Beyond War November #NOwar social media campaign.
It's time for us to get honest about the true costs of war, including the long term health consequences for people who serve in the military, and the corresponding long-term costs that our society must commit to bear.
(See How to REALLY Honor Veterans)
"A terrible disease has struck the area . . . people call it the 'flu' . . . many in our own community have fallen to it . . . including someone very dear to you, someone in your own family . . . I'm talking about your sister, Margaret." (See November 11, 1918: Another Veteran for Peace )
Much of my last year has been focused on the 70th anniversary of the US atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki -- including innumerable tweets, posts, and shares on social media. Here are some of the things I'm noticing, particularly in connection with the hashtag #HiroshimaNagasaki70 on Twitter.
(See #HiroshimaNagasaki70 - What I Learned on Twitter )
(See #PeaceDay 2015 - Ten Thoughts on Peace)
One thing that is clear to me is that the way community forms on Twitter bears the closest resemblance to the characteristics of community formation that we, as activists, need to work with from now on.
(See Twitter Community for Activism: What Do We Understand?)