Veterans For Peace is holding a series of events and actions this upcoming Memorial Day weekend in Washington, DC. The events begin on Thursday, May 25th with the Swords into Plowshares Belltower at the Lincoln Memorial and culminate Tuesday, May 30th with a rally and speakers at the Lincoln Memorial and a march to the White House and a presentation of demands.
More information on the events in DC can be found here.
In order for us to let people know about the events and, in particular, the rally, we need to advertise. We have a TV advertisement, which we will run in the Washington, DC area on MSNBC. If you can, and I know everyone is receiving many, many requests for money and donations right now, but if you can, please help us advertise, so that we can let as many people know as possible that veterans are gathering against war, against militarism and against the system that is destroying our society, our future and our planet.
If you can give $5, $20 or more we can let millions of people know we will be there, in DC, the heart of the Empire, so they can join us and so they, thousands of them, may join us outside the Lincoln Memorial, march to the White House and fight for Peace and against war; for Life and against death; for Love and against hate; for those things we need and we cherish in our society; and against the greed and the destruction that we have too much already in our society. Please donate here.
This is the advertisement we will run. Please feel free to share it widely:
I’ll be one of the speakers that day. I will say something similar to what I said to the tens and tens of thousands of people I spoke to in February on Fayetteville Street in Raleigh when I was blessed to be a part of Reverend William Barber’s Moral March:
Below, from last month, is Reverend Barber’s sermon from the Riverside Church in NYC on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King’s Beyond Vietnam speech. If you have not seen or heard it, please take an hour to do so, it is well worth the time. I do not think there is a better explanation for the purposes behind what we will be doing in Washington, DC at the end of this month than Reverend Barber’s sermon.
Finally, I have pasted below the letter that Barry Ladendorf, the President of Veterans For Peace, sent to President Trump in March of this year. Of course, Barry has not received a reply from the White House.
Letter from Barry Ladendorf, President, Veterans For Peace to President Donald Trump, March 30, 2017:
Dear President Trump,
We want our Peace Bonus.
As you may know, a bonus was promised to the American soldiers who fought World War I—the “war to end all war,” but they called it, “hell on earth.” More than their bonuses, those soldiers wanted peace. They gathered in Washington in 1932 to demand payment of their bonus, but they were met with violence, in their own nation’s capital, just for trying to claim what was rightfully theirs.
I am president of Veterans For Peace (VFP), a national organization of military veterans with a visceral understanding of war and its causes. We have come to believe in nonviolence as a more effective and humane response to conflict.
In 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. said prophetically, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
I wish to convey our serious opposition to your administration’s policy of increasing the military budget while decreasing and even eliminating funding for vital social services.
As veterans, we have long recognized that increases to an already bloated Pentagon budget are what keep us in the business of war. We in VFP are not fooled into thinking that this budget makes our country any safer.
Marine General Smedley Butler, two-time Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, pronounced, “War is a racket.” We believe that and we are sick of it. Butler’s sentiment is still resonant today. In the words of our own Matt Hoh, a former State Department official and Marine captain: “The killing, the organized murder we engaged in, benefitted only the profits of the defense corporations, the salaries of retired generals, and the terrorist groups themselves.”
We speak for the majority of U.S. citizens, who believe your policies are taking innocent lives and endangering more of our young soldiers, who have already given so much in the needless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now we have sent more Marines into Syria. Your policies are also causing suffering and despair among immigrants, Muslims, communities of color, women, Native Americans, and LGBTQ communities, and if implemented, these policies will further destroy the environment. Ultimately, they make all of us considerably less secure.
Since these policies do nothing to promote human or planetary betterment, we are left to conclude they are intended to maintain and advance what has sadly become the global U.S. Empire—an empire that, like all empires of the past, exploits and oppresses other nations and the earth itself in order to increase the wealth and power of the very few. Meanwhile common people’s lives become more and more impoverished.
We are now requesting that a delegation from Veterans For Peace be invited to meet with you in person to speak about your policies and how they affect peace, at home and abroad—with independent media present.
Like the bonus marchers of the 1930s, we demand our bonus. The bonus for our service and the many sacrifices of our comrades is peace.
Most sincerely yours,
Barry Ladendorf, National President
Veterans For Peace
U.S. Navy, 1965-69