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Pro-lifers, Let’s Reclaim Armistice Day to Respect Life and Veterans

by Thad Crouch

In many nations, Armistice Day still commemorates the end of WWI on November 11th, 1918, as a day to remember a body count on a scale hitherto undreamt of at the time and a day to promote international peace.

The 1926 U.S. Congressional Armistice Day resolution begins like this:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far-reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
Whereas it is fitting that the…anniversary…perpetuate peace through goodwill and mutual understanding between nations; . . . .

When America remembered Armistice Day as if life matters, it inspired a 1920s peace movement so pervasive that it even included bankers and the American Legion. Instead of waiting for the ideal president or senate, trans-partisan activists got all four major political parties into the movement, and by 1929 the U.S. was among sixty-two nations that signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact outlawing aggressive war! The “war to end all wars” became an international call for peace to end all wars. While the pact was not applied to stop WWII, it was used to prosecute Nazis for starting it and is still on the books.

The U.S. replaced Armistice Day with Veterans Day, and over time its meaning changed. The Department of Veterans Affairs describes 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.

Remembrance of veteran deaths was further removed from Armistice Day to Memorial Day, which is historically rooted in the remembrance of Americans killing each other for economic reasons related to race-based slavery of other Americans. Armed Forces Day's wording suggests that our military is vital to security and peace. The honestly-named War Department became the Department of Defense.

“And some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend.” Legend became a myth of war as both glorious and for the common good. And for many years, the global call for peace to end all wars and the law against aggressive war faded out of common knowledge.

Experience as a WWI combat veteran influenced J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. The saga rejects the desire for power to dominate others because it dehumanizes both those dominated and those who seek such power. Peace-loving Hobbits unsuited for war are the surprising heroes. The weapon of power burdens Frodo, whose wound seemingly never heals; his experience is similar to moral injury, Post Traumatic Stress (PTS), and Perpetration Induced Traumatic Stress (P.I.T.S.).

It’s easily seen that Armistice Day respects human life and dignity far more than the modern Veterans Day. Imagine, for a moment, that the U.S. changed International Women's Day to “Abortion Workers Day,” with parades to honor America's abortion workers for their patriotism and willingness to serve for the common good of women’s equal access to education, jobs, and political office.

The omission of abortion violence and deaths would be glaring. So is the assumption that those deaths are necessary or justified for equal access to education, jobs, and political office. Pro-lifers know that there are life-affirming alternatives to abortion, like adoption. We know that there are ways to organize relationships, communities, and societies to provide new mothers access to opportunities. We are willing to sacrifice and serve life by delaying some opportunities because we recognize that killing someone takes away ALL their rights and opportunities.

Reclaiming Armistice Day allows us to be honest about military violence, deaths, and the harms done to civilian and veteran survivors. Reclaiming Armistice Day promotes radical inclusivity of human dignity, beyond the limits of patriotism, to an international level that rehumanizes foreign civilians and enemy troops as possible allies in the struggle for peace — a struggle that aims to respect life.

Modern Veterans Day normalizes violence. Reclaiming Armistice Day honors veterans by acknowledging the reality of war and our wounds. While it’s true that most of us veterans have a willingness to sacrifice and serve the common good, it is also true that most abortion workers believe they serve the common good. “But they were all of them deceived.”

Both war and abortion are unsafe for millions. Both armed violence and abortion violence are not rare. Even though war and abortion can be used to achieve some peoples’ goals — by taking others’ lives — there are better, nonviolent alternatives to both. Abortion workers and post-abortive parents also suffer P.I.T.S., just like many veterans.

Just as Larry Lader's propaganda persuaded many feminists to promote abortion and the Supreme Court to legalize it, governments use propaganda to normalize militarism as needed security.

I was once a soldier. Now, the more I study U.S. war in context of facts and objectives, the more I see wars are avoidable aggressive violence — even WWII! Further, the high quantity and percentages of defenseless civilian deaths in modern warfare even led