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Helping Peace Make History: Charlottesville Activists Confront Military History Days

On the afternoon of October 3rd over a dozen Charlottesville activists held the first annual peacemakers history day demonstration across the street from the Albermarle County Military History Days encampment. As children wandered through groups of mock civil and revolutionary war soldiers, a few kids and their parents held banners and signs outside the camp, asking that our country's peace history be taught as thoroughly as its war history.
On the afternoon of October 3rd over a dozen Charlottesville activists held the first annual peacemakers history day demonstration across the street from the Albermarle County Military History Days encampment. As children wandered through groups of mock civil and revolutionary war soldiers, a few kids and their parents held banners and signs outside the camp, asking that our country's peace history be taught as thoroughly as its war history.

The vigil was received warmly by most passers-by, indcluding some of the high school students who'd played at the exhibition with their school band.

Activists handed out more than 50 leaflets and plan to expand activities next year.

The leaflet read, in part:
"We are here to acknowledge the long and varied tradition of peacemaking in the United States.

"Just as most of our everyday interactions don’t end in fist fights, most of our country’s history is not comprised of war. Unfortunately, most of our learned history–what we are taught in school, what we see on TV and in the movies, what we read about history–is about war and military might. Not surprisingly, when it comes to resolving conflicts in our world and in our nation, we often turn to military might. Our country owns more than 10,500 nuclear warheads. Our citizens own more than 200 million hand guns. We are the only nation to have ever used a nuclear weapon. And we are currently involved in a war and occupation in Iraq that has resulted in the deaths of over 1,000 US soldiers and 13,000 Iraqi civilians.

"What would happen if we studied, honored, celebrated and imitated our country’s many peacemakers, from Native American chiefs to contemporary organizers? What if we knew the names of more peacemakers than generals?

"It is indeed important to know our country’s military history. But unless we teach this history within the context of both the many peacemaking efforts and the suffering of civilians, we teach an inaccurate version of the truth that promotes violence as the only solution to conflict."
 
 


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