11.11.2010

Armistice Day

Today, around the country we celebrate our veterans' service to the United States. My grandfather is a great guy and paid a large price to protect our country during the second World War. Proudly lying about his age at 17 he enlisted in the Army and shortly after joined the fight in Normandy.

He almost never talked about his experience abroad. My mother says he suffers from post-traumatic stress. What I do know is from stories shared by my grandmother. Grampy witnessed the death of his best friend and subsequently suffered ankle injuries from shrapnel.

I love my grandfather. I love my mother and uncle who both served in the Navy. Many of my friends have served in the military to some capacity. Veterans Day always puts me in a tough position as an individual who opposes the use of systemic violence as a means for conflict resolution.

I've been told I'm unpatriotic - or that I'm impractical because we need the military to defend ourselves. Well... we do and we don't. There are certainly diminishing returns on the safety provided by our military expenditure.

Veterans Day began as what was called "Armistice Day." The armistice signed on the "eleventh hour, of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" in France marked the official end of WWI between the Allies and Germany. Instead of marching in a parade, or brandishing a yellow ribbon magnet on my car - I suggest we honor those fallen by signing an armistice.

What better gift is there for our veterans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan than the chance to come home, see their families and get a job creating, producing and serving at home instead of risking their lives, their sanity and their souls in a war that has no 'win' scenario.

See also:

  • Waging Nonviolence and the author's thesis on alternatives to war
  • 'For Pacifists' by Gandhi
  • 'Nonzero' by Robert Wright. This book is less about war and peace and more about humanity in general. A lot of what he writes serves as a more scientific background for Gandhi's explanation about the history of violence and war.

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