Sunday, November 11th, 10:30 AM at the Church of the Assumption, 2116 Cornwall Ave
Bellingham's Veterans For Peace and supporters of peace will be standing in solemn commemoration of the 100th year anniversary of the end of the First World War across the street from the Church of the Assumption, 2116 Cornwall Ave, on Sunday, November 11 at 10:30 AM.
One hundred years ago this month the world celebrated peace as a universal principle. The last round of World War I was fired on November 11, 1918. All the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War went silent during the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of that eleventh month. Nations mourning their dead collectively called for an end to the butchery of all wars. Armistice Day was born and designated as “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated."
After World War II, the U.S. Congress decided to rename and designate November 11 as a national holiday, Veterans Day. Commemorating an end to hostilities quickly morphed into honoring the military and glorifying war. Armistice Day was flipped from a day for peace into a day for displays of militarism.
Acclaimed author Kurt Vonnegut lived the misery of World War II as a U.S. infantryman in Europe and wrote of the rebranding in "Breakfast of Champions":
"Armistice Day has become Veterans Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans Day is not. So, I will throw Veterans Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don't want to throw away any sacred things. Veterans Day celebrates 'heroes' and encourages going off to kill and be killed in a future war -- or one of our current wars."
Next Sunday thousands of churches across the world, including Bellingham’s Church of the Assumption, will ring their bells 11 times slowly in solemn remembrance at 11 in the morning to mark the end of the war that, in retrospect, ended peace. It's time for Americans to reclaim Armistice Day.
Join us in silent tribute, with worldwide millions, in commemoration of the Armistice centennial.
The author of this post is Veterans For Peace Lifetime Member and Vietnam Veteran Gene Marx, the Communications Coordinator of the CPL Jonathan Santos Memorial Veterans For Peace Chapter 111.