Ring Bells for Peace November 11
by Carol Urner, Co-Chair, DISARM/End Wars Issue Committee
On November 11, 2013, we invite you to join us in an action to call and work for an end to war. Thousands of US citizens began gathering annually to remember the armistice that ended World War I on that day. They rang bells for peace for eleven minutes after 11 at at 11:11 am and renewed their own commitment to building peace. In 1938, Armistice Day was finally declared a legal holiday by Congress and FDR: a holiday which would encourage working for world peace..
In 1954, however, ten years after World War II, Congress renamed the holiday Veterans Day as “A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.”
US Veterans for Peace, however, have known first hand both the horrors and futility of war. For the past decade VFP has been resurrecting Armistice Day as a time to concentrate on learning lessons from the past and recommitting to removing the causes of war and building peace. For the past two years WILPF has joined VFP in Portland, Oregon and is now urging other Branches to do the same. WILPF was founded in 1915 by women from belligerent, attacked and neutral nations determined to stop World War I, find and remove the causes of war, and build the institutions of peace.
So we hope you and your organizations or faith communities will join us in remembering Armistice Day and that failed “war to end all wars.” Join us in tolling bells on November 11 at 11 minutes after 11 just as those who came before us did starting 95 years ago. Ring hand held bells, campus or church and town hall bells, but ring them calling for an end to current endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ring them to end the never concluded war against North Korea, the longest war in US history. Ring them for prevention of new wars in Iran or Syria, in Asia or Africa or Latin America.
And while calling for our troops, contractors and weapons to come home, we can remind people that the U.S. ratified a non-aggression treaty 84 years ago. Is it also time to resurrect the Kellogg Briand Pact, which has never been rescinded, and ask what we must do to make that promise a reality in our own and future times?