In this photo from 2018, about 40 people attend a vigil at Billings Park, in Syracuse, home to a World War I monument, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day. Veterans for Peace Chapter 51 and the Beyond War and Militarism Committee of the Syracuse Peace Council and CNY Solidarity Coalition co-sponsored the event, November 11, 2018. People will gather again on Monday, Nov. 11, 2021, to commemorate Armistice Day. (Michael Greenlar | The Post-Standard)Michael Greenlar | mgreenlar@syr
Letter Published in Syracuse.com, November 9, 2021
Celebrate peace, not war. Commemorate Armistice Day
Correction: The Veterans For Peace/Beyond War and Militarism Committee event will occur at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021, at Billings Park, not Monday, Nov. 8.
To the Editor:
I recently received in the mail a flashy postcard titled “Thanking Our Veterans, CNY Veterans Parade and Expo.” Prominently displayed are photos of marching soldiers, military tanks and youth saluting with, of course, a backdrop of the red, white and blue. The postcard announces that this expo will occur on Nov. 6 and that there will be marching bands, e.g., the West Point Drill Team, musical performances, e.g., the Fort Drum Rock Band, and it is hosted by Assemblyman William Magnarelli, D-Syracuse. What I find so distressing about this unabashed exhibition of militarism is the extent to which the military-industrial complex and the weapons industry have so successfully captured our imagination. They have convinced us that war and militarism are necessary and glorious. They have accomplished this cultural shift by insisting that we celebrate Veterans Day rather than Armistice Day. You should know that there is an alternative.
Over 100 years ago, the world celebrated peace as a universal principle. Armistice Day was born and was designated as “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated.” However, in 1954 the U.S. Congress renamed Nov. 11 as Veterans Day and the annual dedication to world peace mutated into the glorification of war and hero worship of the military. Armistice Day changed from a day for peace into a day for displays of militarism.
This Veterans Day, Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021, the Syracuse Chapter of Veterans for Peace and the Beyond War and Militarism Committee, a joint committee of the Syracuse Peace Council and the CNY Solidarity Coalition, call upon all to gather with us at 10:30 a.m. at Billings Park, at the corner of South Salina Street and East Adams Street, in Syracuse. Mayor Ben Walsh will join us and issue a proclamation declaring the 11th day of November, 2021, to be Armistice Day for Peace in the City of Syracuse. We will remember the millions killed, wounded, widowed, imprisoned, orphaned and displaced by war. In our continual effort to reclaim Armistice Day we will honor military resisters.
We will gather in this solemn manner not to pay homage to the weapons of destruction but to renew our commitment to work for an end to all wars and to foster justice and peace, at home and abroad.
Ronald L. VanNorstrand
Veterans For Peace
The writer is a Vietnam-era veteran.