Sun Nov 11, 2012, 12:53 PM
MadHound (34,179 posts)
Today is Armistice Day,
That what we call Veterans Day was originally called, Armistice Day, before the name was changed after WWII. The original purpose of Armistice Day, according to Congressional proclamation were “exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding … inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.” A later Congressional explanation also added that Armistice Day was “a day dedicated to the cause of world peace.”
Wow, a holiday that celebrates world peace, what a novel concept. Sadly, it couldn't last. After WWII the name of the day was not only changed, but the purpose of the day also changed, from celebrating peace to honoring veterans. Don't get me wrong, I think that veterans should be honored, but in these days of hyper-nationalism, with veterans being celebrated on Memorial Day, Independence Day, in songs and stories, would it be asking for too much to simply have a day that celebrates peace?
In fact I think it says a great deal about our country, our society, that a day dedicated to the cause of world peace has now morphed into one more day of militaristic display and bombast. This change reflects how militaristic we have become as country, how nationalistic we've become as a society. Peace, pffft, who needs it, we've gone perpetual war to tend to, U-S-A, U-S-A! Peace in our country has become an afterthought, and pacifists are targets of ridicule and suspicion.
The sad thing is, peace is indeed the natural condition of mankind. Human beings find it extremely hard to kill each other. So hard in fact that at one time this natural disinclination to kill one's fellow human being became a crisis in the military. After WWI, the military folks in DC were appalled, the ratio of kills to ammo used was extremely low. They went back to the war records of previous wars, including the Civil War, and found the same unacceptably low ratios. It seems as though soldiers were naturally wired to fire high, fire low, fire left or right, anywhere but at their target. Far too much ammo was being used, something had to be done, and something was. A regimen of what essentially amounted to brainwashing was instituted, where raw recruits had their psyches stripped down, their disinclination towards killing removed, and a lean, mean fighting machine was put in its place. This program was and is known as Basic Training.
Sadly, it seems as though something similar has happened to our society. Peace as a national policy gets the short shift these days, in fact those who advocate for peace are thought of as suspicious as best, and perhaps dangerously UnAmerican at worst. Both parties continue to feed the MIC unlimited money, and our upcoming fiscal cliff is proof positive of this. So much consternation about cutting a military budget that is now taking up half our national budget. Oh the horror! Now it looks like instead of cutting the bloated military, we're going to have some form of spending cuts that are going to target, once again, the least among us, the poor, the aged, cutting programs that help peaceful, and leaving spending in place that kills people.
Perhaps it is time we re-embraced the original purpose of Armistice Day, that once again we genuinely start working towards peace across the world, rather than simply paying lip service to that notion. If we don't, our nation simply won't survive, at least not in a form we would recognize.
So on this Armistice Day, I wish you, all of you, Peace, and promise that I will continue to work for peace throughout the world. Perhaps you will join me.
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Today is Armistice Day, (Original post)
Response to MadHound (Original post)
Sun Nov 11, 2012, 04:40 PM
Tierra_y_Libertad (41,414 posts)
2. Sadly, "The War to End All Wars" didn't. 10,000,000 dead for nothing.
And, we still build monuments to war and pretend that killing is glorious.