Letter: Support peace in recognition of veterans

The photo (from the Nov. 19 edition of the Hollister Free Lance) of the hug given to Vietnam veteran Anthony Gutierrez on Veteran’s Day celebration on Nov.11 visibly conveyed a gesture of deep gratitude. We do not want to forget veterans but why do we forget peace? I remember when this day was celebrated in another fashion—it was the glorious end of the war.

At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the Armistice was signed ending the massacre of World War I. The world rejoiced. The history books record WWI as a war to end all wars. Throughout our subsequent war years, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Grenada, Panama, Gulf I, Iraq, Afghanistan and until a more recent change the day was celebrated as Armistice Day.  

It does seem ridiculous to celebrate a war’s end when wars endlessly continue.

It seems to make sense that since WWI, little peace has been achieved and most, if not all soldiers are motivated to fight for peace. This holiday that used to honor war’s ending now is designated to honor the fighting men and women who fight for peace. I wonder why peace among nations is not as prized as battlefield deaths.

I saw another way to honor veterans when I visited Japan—cemeteries flew white banners honoring fallen soldiers signifying goals of peace. Japan experienced two nuclear bombs; they know suffering and the value of peace. Sometime following the end of WWII as the world learned the dreadful suffering and devastation caused by nuclear weapons, we were astounded.  Consequently we lived the Cold War fearing the atomic bomb.

Why was the goal of peace lost? It certainly is the time to find it now. We are faced with a monumental threat to our very existence. That is nuclear war! Avoiding military buildup plus inspired diplomacy should be the lessons learned.  

Mary Zanger