I am an educator at Kendall Elementary School in Maple Falls. Our school community honored veterans at an assembly last Thursday. Our fifth and sixth graders sang and spoke of honor, freedom, and pride. It ended with a hope for love and peace to replace fear and hate.
According to the Nov. 9 Bellingham Herald the Ferndale High School Veterans Day assembly had a far different message, one I find neither honorable nor humane. The young Ferndale grad spoke of his split-second decision to defend the lives of his fellow soldiers over the lives of two children in Mosul.
As peace educators we strive to help our children to make good choices. Our new Kendall principal has introduced a word from Hawaii, "pono," meaning to do what is right. We honor diversity, teach non-violent communication and listening to one another to attempt to solve problems. We celebrate the struggle to find peaceful solutions. Why is our world at large not more like our classrooms? When will we decide that war and the choices it so often dictates are not the way to do what is right? When will we learn and honor veterans not for killing innocent children and elders, but instead for humane peace keeping missions and life saving efforts such as the recent hurricane Sandy? When that happens I will be willing to honor and celebrate the work of our men and women veterans.