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Victims of War' Day urged for final Saturday in U.N. Disarmament Week

David Ramsay — October 1984

As November 11 approaches, many peace groups in Canada may be preparing to once again consider holding events on Remembrance Day to remind people of its real meaning – that men and women died to bring peace. Unfortunately some veterans see this attempt as a violation of their day and the meaning they attribute to it. Regardless of the care and sensitivity peace groups take in how they carry out their educational efforts, misunderstandings will arise among those who place a different value on Nov. 11.

We must recall that there are veterans who associate peace with Nov.11, but feel that this day is exclusively theirs to commemorate their friends’ death. We need to be sensitive to these sentiments while at the same time make people aware that war is obsolete as a method for solving differences.

In Thunder Bay, the Coalition for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament has developed an idea that we would like to share with other peace groups who struggle with this dilemma. We have chosen the last Saturday in U.N. Disarmament Week as a day to commemorate the innocent victims of war (Victims of War Day).

It is known that of the 10 million people killed in 130 conventional wars during the last 30 years, 9 million have been civilians. It is also known that, around the world, 1 ½ million dollars are spent on arms each minute, while in that same minute 30 children die from lack of food and vaccines. Clearly it is critically important to educate people about the unacceptable costs of war, both past and present.

We feel that by creating a special day to remember these victims, we can achieve some of the purposes we hoped our commcrnoration of Remembrance Day wquld achieve, while at the same time avoid need

lessly arousing negative public opion among those who view November II as inviolable. It is important to note that we see this as a commemorative service rather than a protest. We feel this will attract those who are not yet comfortable with marching, yet wish to do something to bring about disarmament.

Victims of War Day is:

As we remember the civilian victims of past and present wars, we keep faith with them by our resolve to ensure that their lives were not lived in’vain, and that their suffering and death has a profound meaning for us all.

This October 27, Thunder Bay Coalition for Peace and Nuclear Disarmament will be holding the inaugural commemoration of Victims of War Day. Joining us for this special occasion will be Dr. Norman Alcock, founder of the Canadian Peace Research Institute, and Philip Berrigan. We invite other peace groups to join us in making this October 27th (and subsequent last Saturdays in U.N. Disarmament Week) Victims of War Day.