Veterans Day Events Highlight Peace, Not Militarism

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Veterans for Peace chapters in Milwaukee and Madison have planned special Veterans Day events this weekend that promote peace rather than militarism.  Details:

MILWAUKEE VETERANS FOR PEACE:

Barred from the city’€™s Veterans Day parade, Milwaukee Veterans for Peace, Chapter 102, will sponsor its own Veterans Day event at 10 a.m. in front of Milwaukee City Hall , 200 E. Wells, to observe the day with a call for peace. 

Iraq veterans Ryan Freund and Ryan Nofsinger will share their experiences, and Vietnam veteran John Zutz will discuss the history of Veterans Day (originally Armistice Day), established in 1919 as a day to express support for peace and justice, not militarism.

Mark Foreman, a Vietnam veteran and president of the local VFP chapter, will serve as master of ceremonies. Music by Iraq war veteran Jason Moon will be followed by ringing of a bell 11 times to honor those who have served and to wish for peace. It is symbolic of the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, which was the beginning of the cease fire at the end of the First World War.  

After the program, Veterans for Peace members will go into the crowd of Veterans Day Parade watchers and collect donations for homeless veterans who live on the streets of Milwaukee .

The Veterans Day Parade Committee told Veterans for Peace it could not march in the parade with its banner because the group’€™s name is ‘€œpolitical.’€

MADISON VETERANS FOR PEACE:

Memorial Mile ‘€“ the Third Display

On Saturday, Nov. 8, some 4,800 tombstones will be erected along Speedway Road in Forest Hill Cemetery on Madison’s near west side. (Volunteers are needed that morning — contact John Fournelle by email: jhfour@gmail.com).

After two successful and well-attended displays of the Mile at Olbrich Park, the chapter received permission from the Madison Parks Commission to move the Memorial Mile to a new location on the near west side. Forest Hill Cemetery, which faces Speedway Road between West High school and the Glenway golf course, is a dignified and appropriate location for the Mile.

It is the resting place for literally hundreds of Union and Confederate soldiers, as well as veterans who served in the Spanish-American War, World Wars I and II, Korea, Viet Nam and the first Gulf War. It is the site of annual Memorial Day ceremonies respecting the sacrifices of so many Americans.

The public is invited to participate in the installation of the Mile on Saturday, Nov.  8, starting at 9am and also help uninstall the headstones the following Saturday, Nov. 15. Last May thousands of passers-by viewed the Memorial Mile during the week at Olbrich Park and comparable numbers of visitors are likely this November at Forest Hill. The Mile may be visited any time, day or night, during November 8-15.

The quiet cemetery roads may be entered at either end (near West High or at the Glenway St. end). Visitors may park along the internal cemetery roads. Walked quietly among the stones; leave flowers if you wish. The sobering and respectful display symbolizes the deaths of over 4,300 US service personnel in Iraq and nearly 500 in Afghanistan. Over 35,000 Americans have been seriously wounded in Iraq. To date 95 Wisconsin soldiers have died, symbolized by the small Wisconsin flags on scattered headstones.

Veterans for Peace members and volunteers will be available as often as possible throughout the week to answer questions, listen and share thoughts.

Sunday Ceremony and Reading of Names

A one-hour memorial ceremony will be held on Sunday, Nov. 9, at 2pm at the west end of the display. Those attending are welcome to park on the cemetery roads on that end. Featured speakers include the Rev. David Couper, Iraq War veterans Fran Weidenhoeft and Nate Toth (Iraq Veterans Against the War) and Vietnam veteran Will Williams. Bagpiping will accompany the reading of the 95 Wisconsin war dead at the end. VFP board member Frank Court will be the master of ceremonies.

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