Armistice Day / Remembrance Day 103 Is November 11, 2020
David Swanson / World BEYOND War
November 11, 2020, is Armistice Day 103 — which is 102 years since World War I was ended at a scheduled moment (11 o’clock on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 — killing an extra 11,000 people after the decision to end the war had been reached early in the morning).
In many parts of the world this day is called Remembrance Day and should be a day of mourning the dead and working to abolish war so as not to create any more war dead. But the day is being militarized, and a strange alchemy cooked up by the weapons companies is using the day to tell people that, unless they support killing more men, women, and children in war, they will dishonor those already killed.
For decades in the United States, as elsewhere, this day was called Armistice Day, and was identified as a holiday of peace, including by the US government. It was a day of sad remembrance and joyful ending of war, and of a commitment to preventing war in the future. The holiday’s name was changed in the United States after the US war on Korea to “Veterans Day,” a largely pro-war holiday on which some US cities forbid Veterans For Peace groups from marching in their parades, because the day has become understood as a day to praise war — in contrast to how it began.
The story from the first Armistice Day of the last soldier killed — in the last major war in which most of the people killed were soldiers — highlights the stupidity of war. Henry Nicholas John Gunther had been born in Baltimore, Maryland, to parents who had immigrated from Germany.
In September 1917, he had been drafted to help kill Germans. When he had written home from Europe to describe how horrible the war was and to encourage others to avoid being drafted, he had been demoted (and his letter censored).
After that, he had told his buddies that he would prove himself. As the deadline of 11:00 a.m. approached on that final day in November, Henry got up, against orders, and bravely charged with his bayonet toward two German machine guns. The Germans were aware of the Armistice and tried to wave him off. He kept approaching and shooting. When he got close, a short burst of machine gun fire ended his life at 10:59 a.m.
Henry was given his rank back, but not his life.
Let’s Create Events Around the World:
• 11/10 David Swanson speaking by Zoom to Veterans For Peace Southeast US regional meeting.
• 11/11 Webinar on The remarkable story of a young Catholic husband & father from Denver who was placed in military prison for refusing to be drafted into WWI
A Few Ideas:
• Plan an online event with World BEYOND War Speakers.
• Plan a bell ringing. (See resources from Veterans For Peace.)
• Plan to stand in your door for 2 minutes at 11 a.m. on 11/11.
• Use hashtags #ArmisticeDay #NoWar #WorldBeyondWar #ReclaimArmisticeDay
Learn More About Armistice Day:
World BEYOND War is a global network of volunteers, activists, and allied organizations advocating for the abolition of the very institution of war. Our success is driven by a people-powered movement — support our work for a culture of peace.