Let’s recognize November 11’s original meaning as ARMISTICE DAY, a day of peace

November 11 became a holiday because it was the day when World War I ended in 1918 with an armistice.  It was called “Armistice Day,” a holiday DEDICATED TO SUPPORTING PEACE.

Later it got hijacked into a day to CELEBRATE WAR in the guise of celebrating military veterans.  But the subtext is really intended to glorify war.

It’s OK to recognize veterans, but the emphasis on people who have worked in the military seems disproportionate, when many other kinds of workers — health care workers, teachers, artists, social service workers, etc. — do useful work and deserve appreciation too.

My brother (a Vietnam veteran) became a teacher.  A State law requires each school to organize a Veterans Day assembly for all students, so one year the principal told my brother it was his turn to conduct the Veterans day assembly.  My brother had not been a peacenik when he was drafted, but he became one when he was in Vietnam and discovered what the war was really doing to innocent Vietnamese people.

He produced an assembly that also included supporting peace.  He told the students that when he was drafted he was sent to Vietnam and learned the war was wrong.

He said Veterans Day was really supposed to be Armistice Day, but it had been hijacked to support militarism.  He said, “Suppose we had an annual day to honor health care professionals.  Would we say, ‘Hooray for disease’?  Or if we had an annual day to honor law enforcement officers.  Would we say, ‘Hooray for crime’?”  He told the students not to let anybody hijack this day of peace in order to pretend that war is acceptable.