Armistice Day reflections

Armistice Day Parade, 2015, Boston - Veterans for Peace/ Smedley Butler Brigade photo
Armistice Day Parade, 2015, Boston - Veterans for Peace/ Smedley Butler Brigade photo

by Jim Anderson

Reminiscing out loud heading towards yet another eleventh hour on the eleventh day of another eleventh month… big deal!?

Yes yes Armistice Day is a big deal, and so is Veterans Day, which by the way are one and the same. Armistice Day, the day World War I ended, November 11, 1918, was changed to Veterans Day years later, in 1954.

I grew up in my hometown of Buffalo, New York attending many parades on this day. Members of all the branches of military service would march along with various pieces of military weapons. It was a pompous event that while meant to remember and honor all veterans, it had boasting & distinct impressions of our military power.

When I think how World War I came to an end and caused reflection on the large loss of life and destruction, I’m disappointed that we didn’t do more to prevent war; so many more wars have occurred since World War I.

As a combat veteran of Vietnam where I served as a Machine Gunner in the Marine Corps, I can strongly testify that the horror of war is overshadowed by the continued investments in more war. The militarization of our everyday lives, manipulated by constant advertising and political policies that have led us into even more ridiculous harmful spending,  keeps us from addressing the human and infrastructure needs of our nation.

It is a big deal that so many in our nation are weak in understanding and acting to truly honor veterans. Many are satisfied with saying, “Thank You for Your Service.” I find the expression insincere and empty. I ask people, “What are you thanking me for?”  If they knew how much killing and destruction our military does abroad, they certainly wouldn’t be so quick to say those words.

This 11th hour on the 11th day in the 11th month only emphasizes the need to stop the build up to war. We all need to be against more War. For me the time is ripe to urge the people to become more involved in creating a culture of peace, by working to reduce the bloated Pentagon budget, and to urge Congress to scrap investing in the massive nuclear weapons upgrade.  This day I will act loudly, teach endlessly, organizing people to resist the build-up to more war, by reinvesting in human needs. Armistice Day and Veterans Day is a big deal.

The sentiment was that World War I was the war to end all war; it didn’t. However, we have the opportunity to build a more peaceful world. It is the right way to remember and honor veterans this day.

— Jim Anderson is president of Peace Action New York State and co-chair of the board of national Peace Action.  He hosts “Conversations with Jim Anderson” on the Legendary WUFO 1080 the Mix / Power 96.5FM in Buffalo and beyond by internet, Mondays 10am to 11am (EST).