Celebrate Armistice Day on November 11

Celebrate Armistice Day on November 11

Celebrate Armistice Day on November 11

By Howie Hawkins, November 11, 2018

The November 11 federal holiday of Veterans Day was originally Armistice Day. Its purpose was to celebrate peace on the anniversary of the conclusion of World War I.

The congressional proclamation of Armistice Day in 1926 said its purpose was “to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding…with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.” In 1938, Congress made it a federal holiday, declaring it “shall be a day dedicated to the cause of world peace.”

In 1954, however, with the permanent war economy entrenched after World War II and the Korean War, Congress changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day. The meaning of November 11 was changed from honoring peace to honoring war. Militarism and nationalism became the dominant themes.

President Trump, who took five draft deferments during the Vietnam War, wanted a big military parade on this year’s Veterans Day. It was cancelled after the Pentagon dragged its feet and the high cost was reported. So Trump is meeting with world leaders today in France, where November 11 is still celebrated as Armistice Day.

Trump was reportedly peeved earlier today that France did not have another military parade to celebrate mass slaughter while he as there and instead held peace-promoting ceremonies. Using a light rain as his excuse, he skipped a scheduled visit to a cemetery for U.S military casualties of World War I and stayed in his hotel room watching TV. Trump personifies “the summer solider and the sunshine patriot” that Thomas Paine ridiculed. It is the chickenhawks like Trump who are starting U.S wars.

Veterans for Peace has been campaigning since 2008 to return November 11 to Armistice Day in the U.S. Its resolution declaring the campaign decries the “rhetoric and patriotic symbols [that] are used instead of genuine compensation for the extraordinary sacrifices and services of military personnel.” It laments that “90% of victims of wars are now civilians and by honoring only veterans, the public is distracted from the awful price paid by those other than military members.”

U.S. military personnel and veterans are paying a terrible price, too. More die today from suicide than combat. The Veterans Administration reports that the most common motive is combat guilt.

Veterans for Peace is holding Armistice Day ceremonies and discussions all across the county. Honor veterans, all casualties of war, and the cause of peace by attending one of these Armistice Day events.

Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for New York Governor in 2018, is a Marine Corps veteran.

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