Monday, May 30, 2011

Remembering the Peacemakers on Memorial Day

Once again, for maybe the 100th frustrating time, I'd like to suggest that part of our Memorial Day be given over to celebrating the lives of the peacemakers, not only the soldiers who have died despite the efforts of those who worked for peace.

Let's start with the simple recognition of Americans who have won the Nobel Peace Prize, some of whom--many of whom--you've never heard of. You know Al Gore, Martin Luther King, George Marshall, Jimmy Carter, Woodrow Wilson, Teddy Roosevelt and Barack Obama (regardless of what you think of his medal and I don't believe he deserved it). But do you know John Mott, Norman Borlaug or Jody Williams, Elihu Root, Charles Dawes, Frank Kellogg, Jane Addams, Nicklaus Murry Butler, Cordell Hull, Emily Balch, Ralph Bunche, Linus Pauling, Henry Kissinger (another who doesn't deserve it) and Elie Weisel? The American Friends Committee (Quakers) and a group of physicians for the prevention of war, put together in the U.S., also won.

Of course, the irony is that Alfred Nobel endowed the prize with money he earned by inventing dynamite (blowing up his home and killing his brother in the process).

There is a comprehensive paper on who these peacemakers were here and it gives you an idea of the breathtaking scope of the definition of "peacemaker," especially when you include somebody like Kissinger, who has been accused by many as a war criminal. Still, almost all the others deserve the recognition (Obama excepted because this was more an anti-George Bush selection than one Obama earned). The Pulitzer Committee knows how to play politics, too.

Away from that, though, peacemaking is a worthy goal, one that lives a lonely life. While the Vietnam veterans were raising hell to get monuments built to themselves, the people who were responsible for saving many of their lives and for ending a war without end were left to simply be satisfied with the work they did. It was courageous work, often involving having the hell beaten out of them by a government intent on keeping wars going as part of our economic development plan.

So I ask you to remove your hat today for the peacemakers as you hear our National Anthem. Build them a monument in your mind. Fact is, their work is blessed and that, in itself, is their monument. They don't really need others. If monuments are built, they would simply be to remind you of the importance of peace and those who make it.



  1. The peacemakers deserve no recognition on memorial day. It is due to their failures that we have wars that require genuine sacrifice from true heroes.

  2. Priceless reasoning. Peace causes war. Guns cause harmony. Hate causes love. Greed causes generosity. We do, indeed, have war because of the failure of peace, but not because of the effort to find peace. People who hate peacemakers cause war.

  3. You state a tragic truth: wars are a part of economic development.

  4. Then lobby for a Peacemaker Day. I'd participate. Shake their hands. Thank them for whatever they think they're doing to improve the world.

    But Memorial Day is for those who fought and died for this country. You may not believe in what these brave men and women did. You may hate them. But at least acknowledge the fact that when this country got attacked and our freedom was in jeopardy, they stood up and said: I'll fight for my country. And then they got killed for doing so.

    Why do you hate this country so much? You hate soldiers. You hate capitalism. You hate profits. You hate business. Why are you an editor for a business publication? What business would even want to advertise in your publication? Why would they put their brand in the hands of someone who clearly hates everything they stand for?

    Dude, you have a conflict of soul. I don't begrudge your feelings or thoughts or opinions, but at least edit a publication that's in line with what you believe.

  5. Anonymous: You have shown your own cowardice and your complete disregard for the First Amendment to the Constitution by not signing your name to your personal attack on me for having an opinion. That opinion reflects absolutely nothing about the publication I co-own (with a conservative whom I respect). Nothing at all. You obviously have not read the magazine.

    I do not hate anything you have accused me of hating. I have no idea where you came up with that list from what I wrote, which was about respecting a group of people who have given something valuable to our country. You have obviously been listening to too much Limbaugh and Palin. Please read and comment elsewhere. You are not welcome here. It is not the disagreement I mind; it is the total lack of respect, courage and understanding of what I said. And, frankly, I think there is no possibility you ever will understand it.

  6. Dan, I have been looking for this kind of momentous event to help recognize those who spend their lives working for peace and sharing their belief in what can be if only the warmongers are changed to peacemakers.

    This is not to say by any means the women and men who have given or lost their lives in war should not be honored. They believed for the most part, what they were doing was for the good of our nation, even if the politicians and corporate profiteers saw dollar signs under the guise of patriotism.

    The idea of a Peacemaker Memorial Day is a good one and can be refined to be an honorable event that does not take away from the tradition and honor deserved by the fallen in war.

    So, I suggest that a day apart from Memorial Day be promoted with much care and awareness of how and when it be proposed or celebrated. It could be that Martin Luther King, Jr. Day be expanded to include all peacemakers or some similar already celebrated holiday be also designated one of honoring those who work for peace in ways that resolve conflict.

    What do you think?

    1. Jamie:

      I think yours is a wonderful idea, though I would not affiliate it with MLK, a man I consider to be much less imposing than others believe. As a matter of fact, I believe he was the lesser of the great civil rights leaders like Stokley Carmichael, Rap Brown, Angela Davis and Malcolm X, whose actions brought about his ability to demonstrate peacefully and give offending white people an out.

      I would much rather this be associated with the simple act of peacemaking, not the individuals who align themselves. Peacemaker Day would be lovely and it could be close to Earth Day as a celebration of goodness and health.