By Christopher Overfelt
The Kansas City chapter of Veterans for Peace met Saturday, Nov. 11, at the Liberty Memorial to reclaim Armistice Day. It was initially designated in 1918 as “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated.” But when political conditions at the end of the “Great War” inevitably led to World War II, Armistice Day was rebranded as Remembrance Day in the Commonwealth and Veterans Day in the US.
It has now become a day to celebrate war instead of peace.
This year at the memorial, KC VFP chapter President Ted John spoke about how World War I was supposed to be the war that ended all wars. He spoke about the reason that the KC chapter of veterans, along with members of PeaceWorks KC, had gathered at the Liberty Memorial: to honor peace, and not war.
“Armistice Day is about the need to be vulnerable, to expose yourself in order to learn and grow,” said Ted. He also rang a small bell 11 times at 11 am to signify the signing of the World War I armistice that ceased hostilities on the Western Front on the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” of 1918. With this instrument, nations still recovering from the dreadful nightmare of WWI, one of the deadliest conflicts in human history, collectively embraced peace as a universal principle and called for an end to all wars.
And so each year the members of KC VFP honor that memory through their gathering at the Liberty Memorial on Armistice Day.
—Christopher Overfelt, an active member of the KC Vets for Peace, serves on the Board of PeaceWorks KC. © 2023, Christopher Overfelt, Jim Hannah, Ted John, Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 4.0 International License