Local activists seek to reclaim Armistice Day for peace with Greenfield demonstration

  • Volunteer Patrick Falvey of Greenfield, right, and Traprock Center for Peace and Justice board member Suzanne Carlson hold a sign during a vigil for peace on the Greenfield Common in August. On Saturday, community members will gather on the common to recognize the 103rd anniversary since World War I ended in Europe and to join a nationwide effort to recognize Nov. 11 as a day to advocate for the end of all war. For the Recorder/Ella Adams

  • HYNES

Staff Writer
Published: 11/9/2021 3:23:48 PM

GREENFIELD — Community members will gather on the Greenfield Common Saturday, Nov. 13, to recognize the 103rd anniversary since World War I ended in Europe and to join a nationwide effort to recognize Nov. 11 as a day to advocate for the end of all war.

The Stand Out for Peace, which will take place from 11 a.m. to noon — the same time as the weekly peace vigil organized by the Traprock Center for Peace and Justice and Franklin County Continuing the Political Revolution’s Peace Task Force — is part of an effort by the national nonprofit Veterans for Peace to reclaim Nov. 11, or Veterans Day, as Armistice Day, meaning a day to advocate for peace.

“We wanted to try to be a part of that,” said Marty Schotz, convener of FCCPR’s Peace Task Force. “So we decided to do something a little more than our usual stand out for peace.”

In 1918, then-President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day. At that time, the date was regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars,” according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“There’s a lot of young people that have no idea (Nov. 11) was Armistice Day,” Schotz said.

The day was primarily set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but eventually grew to include veterans of World War II and other wars in which American soldiers fought. In 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day.

Schotz clarified that the intention isn’t to conflict with the significance of Veterans Day.

“We’re not against veterans and we’re not against recognizing them,” he said. “But we think the best way we can serve veterans is to do everything we can to prevent any future war. That’s a way of honoring veterans also.”

From 11 a.m. to noon, activists will stand on the common holding signs with messages of peace. At 11 a.m., the Second Congregational Church and All Souls Church will ring their bells in support.

“This is a traditional and solemn way to call the public to attention,” said Traprock Center for Peace and Justice board member Pat Hynes.

Reporter Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne


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