Yesterday, hundreds of JMS students filed into the big gym to listen to four brave veterans’ stories. The stories, moving and enlightening, forced many kids at JMS to open their eyes to the harsh world of war. Two of the veterans belonged to a wonderful organization called Veterans for Peace: A collection of former fighters who genuinely believe in peace: a simple thing that many can’t seem to wrap their heads around.
While all the guests’ speeches were bravely memorable, one Veteran For Peace told a story that particularly stood out to me: a story about peace. This is how it went…
Long long ago in 1914 during WW1, both sides were fiercely battling. Though millions had already been killed, there seemed to be no end to the bloodshed in sight. Somewhere in the midst of this unwavering battle stood two opposing militia. In-between these bands lay a big, deep trench called “No-Man’s Land.” Day after day, sides would fire back and fourth from either side of this canyon, never stopping to take a breath. There was a day coming, however, that was universal in reputation: Christmas. As this day neared, little bursts of carols and holiday wishes were strangely exchanged across the trench, as if peace could be found nearby. On the day of the holiday, both side bizarrely calmed. Slowly, people began to come away from their posts, and into No-Man’s land. As the night of Christmas day grew later and later, more soldiers began to create a christmas celebration; Music, pictures, conversation, and happiness were exchanged between enemies. Even though the next day, the soldiers continued fighting, peace was lingering. For one night, two opposing sides were able to come together and celebrate happiness.
This confuses me. If us humans are able to accomplish such noble things as this, why do we abandon to keep-up the good work? Why must we fight constantly?
Veteran’s day takes place on November 11th for one reason: On a historic 11/11, peace was momentarily declared. Bells across countries rang 11 times at exactly 11:00 AM. When we take this time off today, don’t think of war. Think of the peace that can come of it.
In the words and perspective of Emiliano Neas, writer for the Jeffersonian,
“Yesterday, us Jefferson kids where very lucky to get presentations from the veterans of New Mexico. I am sorry for the families that are put through war, and I was very happy to see that they are still alive today with freedom. This Veteran’s day, humbly celebrate a family veteran by giving them a call, or just by hugging them.”
The image above (also by Veterans for Peace) can be found here, along with an interesting article which covers a noble parade.