Veterans for Peace Vigil at the Memorial Day Parade

May 24 2014 - 12:00pm

Action You are invited to stand with Veterans For Peace, holding signs of peace and non-violence, on Sat. 5/24 along the Memorial Day parade route.

Chicago’s Memorial Day parade begins at noon, starting at State and Lake and proceeding south along State. VFP will be across from the Chicago theatre. You are welcome to stand with us or anywhere along the route.

Why Memorial Day is a very sad day. Sad because of all the people of all nations who have killed and have been killed, and all the people negatively affected and effected by war and violence.

ChicagoVFP attended the Memorial Day parade last year and we were stunned. Thousands of dark skinned children in military uniforms “marched”. They were 95% of the parade. They were being closely monitored by adults in military uniforms - strutting proudly that they were teaching these children the military model of conflict resolution. The parade was lead by “Wreckin’ Rahm” * (the Mayor).

Chicago Public Schools has over 10,000 children (4% “white”) enrolled in JROTC and other military programs - the most militarized public school system in the nation. We’ve heard the statements - “it’s a way out”, “they learn discipline”, “they learn leadership”. A way out is by providing “world class” education to all children, not a select few. Discipline is taught in math, languages, art, science, music, poetry, dance, literature, history. The best leadership is by example. The military teaches “follow orders without question”. It teaches children to be lemmings. That’s not leadership.

The military also teaches conflict resolution by violence. We don’t “send in the Marines” to have dialogue. Billions of our tax dollars have gone into promoting the military model. It has been very effective and, in my opinion, is at the root of the violence we see every day. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “I knew I could never again raise my voice against violence without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world - my own government”.

Join VFP on Saturday and stand along the parade route holding signs of peace. Parades are about “recognition”. These children need to see an alternative message. They need to know that the military model is not the answer. Your presence may affect just one child … a child who won’t have to suffer the physical/emotional trauma of the military model. Dig deep for your courage - these children need you.

This comes from a 90 year old veteran who will be with us along the parade route: “I am reminded of that scene in The Last Days (or something like) where Hitler is reviewing a platoon of pre-teen boys. Goering, I think, remarks, “The Leader loves children.” “Yes,” Goebels answers, “Especially in uniform.”

ARNY STIEBER Coordinator

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