Fighting ceased in the “war to end all wars” on the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. Thirty million soldiers had been killed or wounded and another seven million had been taken captive during World War I. Never before had people witnessed such industrialized slaughter. Congress responded to a universal hope among Americans for no more wars by passing a resolution calling for “exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding … inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.” Later, Congress added that November 11th was to be “a day dedicated to the cause of world peace.”
On June 1, 1954, Congress changed the name of Armistice Day to Veterans Day. This year, on November 11th, Veterans For Peace chapters and their allies all over the country intend to restore the tradition of Armistice Day.
And so it will be, with events planned in over 50 cities, many of them including the ringing of 11 bells at the 11th hour on November 11th. In some cities, Veterans For Peace is partnering with MoveToAmend.org to advance the cause of removing money from politics — understanding such corruption to be a major driving force behind wars. In some cities, groups will be striving to revive awareness of the Kellogg-Briand Pact which grew out of the antiwar sentiments after the Great War and which bars our nation and over 80 others from “recourse to war for the solution of international controversies.”
Events are planned in Bangor, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Albany, Santa Cruz, Houston, Tuscon, Gainesville, Tallahassee, Washington DC, Northern N.J., Southern Wisc., Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Miami, New York, Cape Cod, Columbia Mo., Santa Barbara, Southern N.H., Wyoming, Oregon, Nashville, Broome County, San Diego, Seattle, Southeast Ark., Evansville, Orange County Calif., Sheboygan, Red Wing, Tampa, Potsdam, Atlanta, Buffalo, Pueblo, Tacoma, St. Augustine, Bandon, Fairbanks, Memphis, North Carolina triangle, Lane County, Iowa City, East Bay, Mansanita, Berks County, Linn County, Wenatchee Valley, Berkeley, Harrisonburg Va., Charlottesville, Va., St. Louis, San Jose, Marin County, Walnut Creek, and San Francisco.
In Minneapolis, VFP and many allies will hold a ceremony at the First Shot Memorial on Minnesota’s Capitol grounds at 11 a.m. on the 11th.
In St. Louis, churches will ring their bells at 11 a.m. on the 11th. Drummers will play at 11 a.m. in Keiner Plaza.
In Iowa City, bells will be rung at 11 a.m. on the 11th at the Clinton Street entrance to Old Capitol on the Pentacrest.
In Chicago, VFP, VVAW, and I/AVAW will hold a ceremony at 11 a.m. on the 11th at Wabash Avenue at Wacker Drive along the river.
In Boston, VFP will lead a parade, gathering at noon in Boston Commons, at the corner of Beacon and Charles Streets. The parade kicks off at 1 p.m. and leads to a rally and music at Faneuill Hall – Sam Adams Park from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.
In St. Augustine, Fla., the city is expected to issue an official proclamation designating November 11th Veterans/Armistice Day and encouraging churches in the area to ring their church bells at 11:00 a.m. on November 11th inorder to reconsider the original intent of a public recognition of November 11th to honor peace and encourage their congregations to denounce war as a means of settling differences.
In Charlottesville, Va., VFP is co-sponsoring and co-organizing a display of Eyes Wide Open, the acclaimed “cost-of-war” display of hundreds of pairs of boots representing US service members from the area that were killed in ongoing occupations of the Near East. The project will be staffed for three days, in downtown Charlottesville, at the University of Virginia, and at Immaculate Conception church. In the spirit of Armistice Day, bells will be rung in conjunction on November 11th.
In Harrisonburg, Va., VFP plans a parade contingent for the Harrisonburg Veterans Day Parade. They will also be co-hosting and co-sponsoring the Eyes Wide Open project on Monday, November 12th, at Eastern Mennonite University.
Five Related Events in the Bay Area, November 10-11, 2012:
November 10, 2:00 p.m., Walnut Creek
Mt. Diablo Peace Center, 55 Eckley Lane, Walnut Creek, CA 94596 – (925) 933-7850 – http://mtdpc.org
Free and open to the public.
Drone Warfare Protest and Golden Gate Bridge March
Sunday, November 11, 10 a.m. Die-in at Senator Dianne Feinstein’s mansion in Pacific Heights (Vallejo & Lyon Street) then caravan to monthly march across the Golden Gate Bridge. Noon: March begins!
Sunday, November 11, 11 a.m.
Corner of Fourth & Santa Clara Street
San Jose, CA
Veterans for Peace chapters across the nation are meeting on street corners in major cities to celebrate the original ARMISTICE DAY by ringing bells 11 times at 11:00 on November 11 as as was done at the end of World War I, when the world came together in realization that war is so horrible we must end it now. Veterans for Peace Chapter 101 invites those with a personal or organizational commitment to peace to join us in the ringing of bells on the morning of November 11 to focus on the desire to end the horror of war rather than celebrate it. This event is co-sponsored by the San Jose Peace and Justice Center, Woman’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Code Pink, Move to Amend.
Sunday, November 11, 1:30-4:30 p.m. San Francisco
Medea Benjamin, Cindy Sheehan, and David Swanson
On the traditional Armistice Day, the War and Law League (WALL), http://warandlaw.org, presents a forum on the theme, “U.S. Wars — Are They Lawful?” Admission is free. The forum, highlighting WALL’s biennial general meeting, is endorsed by the S.F. American Friends Service Committee and East Bay Peace Action. Main Public Library, Koret Auditorium, 100 Larkin Street at Grove Street, San Francisco, CA, near Civic Center BART/Muni station.
November 11, 7:00 p.m. Marin County
Medea Benjamin and David Swanson
“Stopping War: The Next One? Forever? — An Armistice Day Instead of Veterans Day Event”
Sponsor: Marin Peace & Justice Coalition. Co-sponsors: Social Justice Center of Marin and Community Media Center of Marin.
Olney Hall, College of Marin, 835 College Ave, Kentfield, CA
Admission $10 (No one turned away for lack of funds).
About the speakers at these events:
David Swanson will sign books including “When the World Outlawed War.” Swanson blogs at http://davidswanson.org and http://warisacrime.org and works as Campaign Coordinator for the online activist organization http://rootsaction.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio.
Medea Benjamin is Co-Founder of Code Pink and Global Exchange and author of “Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control.”
Cindy Sheehan is a gold star mother, peace activist, host of Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox, and author of “Revolution: A Love Story.”
Veterans For Peace was founded in 1985 and has approximately 5,000 members in 150 chapters located in every U.S. state and several countries. It is a 501(c)3 non-profit educational organization recognized as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) by the United Nations, and is the only national veterans’ organization calling for the abolishment of war.