Monday, November 11, 2013
Photo credit: taliesin from morguefile.com
This "holiday" today originally was called Armistice Day, marking the end of the hell that was World War I. After at least 20 million deaths, and entire nations left in rubble, it was supposed to be a reminder of the call "Never again!" from survivors. Including many leaders of the day. It wasn't about abstractions like "heroism," "freedom," "patriotism," or even "service." It was about remembering the millions of humans murdered in a conflict that WWI veteran Harry Patch described in these terms "if you boil it down, what was it? Nothing but a family row. That’s what caused it." Even though the nature of Armistice Day shifted quickly towards honoring military veterans, I choose to honor the original spirit. The end of war. The weariness of ever going there again. The desire for peace to remain, however fragile it may be. I think it says a lot about a country, what it's people choose to honor and celebrate. We're entirely too fond of celebrating war and those who participate in it, colonialist notions of "freedom," genocidal "heroes" like Columbus, and events tied to the colonizer form of Christianity. And the major holidays like Valentine's Day and Halloween, which aren't intimately tied to those narratives, are driven by consumerism. Regardless of what good folks make out of all this, it says a lot about how the U.S. is in the world, and where our collective energies are still going to in large degree. And so, in honoring the original spirit of Armistice Day, I call out to that place in each of us that is peace incarnate. That recognizes kinship with all beings, across arbitrary lines and divisions of any kind. What a day like this truly should honor, so that we might all come back to ourselves, put an end the petty battles and greed driven land grabs before they put an end to us.