September 18, 2018
In 1981, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared the 21st of September as an International Day of Peace. This day is devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. The theme of this year's commemoration is "The Right to Peace- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70" which aims to highlight the importance of all segments of society to work together to strive for peace. The theme celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948. Yet, the Universal Declaration does not include a separate article on "Right to Peace". This is why the UN is asking this year: What does "The Right to Peace" mean to you?
We know that the UN has presented challenges towards achieving a JUST peace. However, as veterans we know that peace is not achieved in the moments before a conflict, and the price of "peace" after war are countless lives lost, survivors scarred, civil society in tatters and resources wasted. A JUST peace is found by building communities that meet human needs. We are all too familiar that injustices felt through poverty, racial inequality, religious bigotry, collapsing inner cities and infrastructures, lack of universal health care, climate change and quality education contribute to war and insecurity.
As veterans we see the connections between greed, the endless wars abroad, the U.S. bloated military industrial complex, and the inequities it brings to the poor and marginalized all over the world. It is not enough that we veterans see and understand the interconnectedness.
If we want to abolish war we must help our fellow citizens here at home see the same connections. We need to understand that dropping more bombs, killing innocent civilians and resorting to military solutions is robbing the world's children of health care, education and meaningful jobs to build a safer and more secure future. We believe that as people see and understand this connection, they will stand up with us against war. We can then work together to put in place the building blocks necessary to build a sustainable and peaceful future.
To that end, we call upon our members, fellow veterans, supporters and greater communities to move beyond talk of ending conflict, and instead adopt and implement practices that build peace at home and abroad.