Veterans Day reminds us of the value of peace

To the Editor: The original meaning of November 11 — Armistice Day — signaled the end of the First World War at “the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” in 1918 and a remembrance of those who died in that war.

For 57 years, on Armistice Day people remembered the horror of war and celebrated peace, and to many, especially those who had experienced the suffering and grief that war brings, it became a sacred day.

In 1954, seeking to recognize veterans of later wars both living and dead, Congress changed the name to Veterans Day, using it to promote patriotic sentiments as the latest Cold War battle had ended in a stalemate in Korea.

Since then, Veterans Day observances have become tributes to militarism: cadets and soldiers step smartly to martial music to show their readiness for war, and politicians rush to bask in the reflected glory of military service. There is nothing left of the dream of ending war altogether.

Veterans for Peace honors and remembers the original emphasis of Armistice Day, and we invite you to join us in reclaiming that meaning.

We call on everyone to stand up for Peace this Armistice Day. More than ever our country faces a critical moment as our military has almost 800 military bases overseas which increases tensions around the world. We must press our government to end reckless military interventions that endanger the entire world.

We must create a culture of peace if we are to survive.

WILLIAM THOMAS

Auburn