by: Valerie Elverton-Dixon on November 12th, 2013 | 2 Comments »
On Veteran’s Day, we take a moment to remember what veterans suffer. We recognize post traumatic stress and moral injury, when vets carry guilt regarding the things they saw and sometimes did in war. We see the suicide rates among military personnel, and we do not turn away from those veterans who come home from war with physical injuries that will require care for as long as they live. We remind ourselves of those who are living on food stamps and those who are underemployed or unemployed. We think about all that veterans have to offer society, a set of habits and skills that make them excellent friends, neighbors, employees and employers.
On Veteran’s Day, we think about what we as individuals and as a society owe to veterans. I say: we ought never to forget that Veteran’s Day began as Armistice Day that commemorates the end of World War I. Armistice Day reminds us that what we owe to ourselves and especially to veterans is the end to ongoing wars and the prevention of new wars starting.
War is not encoded on human DNA. It is a choice that happens when groups are in competition for resources. It rises from the will-to power. Yet history teaches us that there is often a moment before a war begins when it could have been avoided. This is the case with World War I. Reading an excerpt of historian Barbara Tuchman’s book The Guns of August in the anthology Approaches to Peace: a Reader in Peace Studies edited by David P. Barash, we learn how World War I was preventable.