Armistice Day

Posted: November 11, 2008 in Uncategorized
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Today is Armistice Day in the United States.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:

The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:

  • Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

  • Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and
  • Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday – – a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as “Armistice Day.

Armistice Day is barely remembered in the U.S.  That the “Great War” cost the world around 30 million dead and maimed is lost in the dustbin of popular forgetfulness. What slinks in its place is Veterans Day, a hollow, jingoistic, comparatively shallow celebration of the flag and the honorable profession of killing for the collective. We glorify war on a day meant to mark its awful cost. 

“Unfortunately Veterans Day has turned into a day to support war rather than a day to reflect on the horrors of war and the need to work for peace,” said Veterans For Peace Executive Director Michael McPhearson.

Adherents of nonviolence can learn from soldiers. The anti-war movement desperately needs members that overcome their apathy, who put themselves in physical danger for a higher cause. But it’s a difficult thing to learn from a soldier’s discipline, dedication and courage while holding at arm’s length the spirituality that gives war its awful beauty. Violence and war are spiritual. But they are not Christ-like.

Honor a veteran’s willingness to die, but never, ever honor the willingness to kill, for any cause. 

One: For the victims of war
All: Have mercy
One: Women, men and children
All: Have mercy
One: The maimed and the crippled
All: Have mercy
One: The abandoned and the homeless
All: Have mercy
One: the imprisoned and the tortured
All: Have mercy
One: The widowed and the orphaned
All: Have mercy
One: The bleeding and the dying
All: Have mercy
One: The weary and the desperate
All: Have mercy
One: The lost and the forsaken
All: Have mercy

One:   O God — Have mercy on us sinners
All:     Forgive us for we know not what we do
One:    For our scorched and blackened earth
All:     Forgive us
One:    For the scandal of billions wasted in war
All:     Forgive us
One:    For our arms makers and arms dealers
All:    Forgive us
One:    For our Caesars and Herods
All:    Forgive us
One:     For the violence that is rooted in our hearts
All:    Forgive us

–From the Litany of Resistance

  1. Matth says:

    Great post. My thoughts on today usually follow the same direction. The horror of WWI, and its enduring legacy in Britain, made a huge impression on me when I lived there. Since I came home, I’ve always been a little sad that my fellow Americans continue to not only ignore one of the most culturally-devastating events of recent times, but even turn it into a day to celebrate the warfare that destroyed a generation.

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