So much about Veteran’s Day speaks of war, death and remembrance. While there is value in rememberance and honor those who have given military service to their countries, we should also remember where the day came from and its greater peaceful meaning.
Originally called Armistice Day, this day was to mark the end of World War 1 – The War to End all Wars. It was a call to end of hostilities, war and death and a return to living peaceful lives. The word armistice means, truce. This leads me to two thoughts.
1. American military veterans give their service to secure peace in the world. So many gave their lives to what they thought was for the better good of the country, citizens and the world. I honor that. I also honor those who gave of themselves in peaceful protest, objection and witness to create the same end.
My BFF, Marty Davey has a niece who is a major in the Army. The Major is not only a caring mother and phenomenal friend, but an officer who sees her duty and her tours of Iraq and Afghanistan as bettering the world. On a vastly smaller scale, Marty, another caring mother and phenomenal friend, went to war-torn countries supporting artists and musicians promoting peace and ending state-sponsored violence against citizens. As opposed to what many make think, these two women have great respect for each other and their common goal of lifting up the world to a higher sense of being.
Marty puts it this way, “You may get more bees with honey, but if they are going to sting you everyone grabs the nearest rolled newspaper.”
2. The right to vote. Of those who gave their careers, their lives, their bodies and their indomitable soul to create the path for self-determination.
Marty teaches juniors in college most of whom are in their early 20’s. Last Election day she asked everyone in her class to stand up. “Sit down if you voted.” A number of students sat down. “Sit down if you cannot vote because you are not an American citizen, old enough to vote or some other reason such as you have been convicted of a felony.” A few students sat down. “Those of you sitting write your name on a piece of paper.”
She, then told them that when her grandmother was their age, she was not allowed to vote. [Here’s a link to one of Marty’s suffragette relatives, Annie Kenney] American women were force-fed, beaten and hung by their wrists in jails because they demanded the right to vote.
“Someone died today to make sure you had the right to vote.”
I think a soldier’s or activist’s death or injury was more inconvenient than your needing to sleep instead of voting, your need to text or facebook instead of voting, or your just being too disconnected, politically lazy or unconcerned instead of voting.
“Everyone who gave me their name gets a point on the next test.”
It doesn’t matter who you vote for as long as you are part of the process. It doesn’t matter how you work for peace, but that you take action on the need. What is important is that you find that peaceful and ethical stream of consciousness in yourself. I believe this stream is universal. I think we need to watch small children more and re-view their unfiltered, true responses to unethical actions. We need to see how our culture or personal history thwarts our true embracement of an ethical, peaceful life.
We all need to make an armistice to release war and death and make real the peace and peaceful world for which so many strived.