Friday, June 1, 2001
Memorial Day, 2001: 'Soldiers waging peace'
"...We all understand the significance of Memorial Day, which traces its history back 133 years to 1868. It's a day of remembrance, reflection, and respect. Today we honor the more than one million American men and women who have fought and died for our country over the course of its 225-year history. Today we pause to remember that wherever there is freedom there have been those who have strained, struggled and sacrificed for it...
"To be a soldier means to pursue a cause with focus, discipline, and determination. It doesn't have to involve a rifle. We all know war can be waged. But guess what ... so can peace! I know of a global organization of women working together to prevent violent conflict, reconstruct ravaged societies and sustain peace in fragile areas around the world. They go by the striking name, Women Waging Peace. Notice it's not women for peace or women concerned about peace. It's women waging peace. These women understand, as one Nobel Laureate observed, that 'peace, like freedom, is not an original state that has existed from the start....'
"Peace has to be made. It has to be fought for. It is not simply the absence of war. Instead, it's the presence of a shared ability to resolve conflict and promote understanding. As you can imagine, this is active, hard-thinking, exhausting workwork that never ends....
"I believe we can encourage our children to be peacemakers, in their families, in their schools, in their communities, and even among their peers internationally... On this Memorial Day, we are all custodians of a bond between ourselves and those who have sacrificed for our benefit. The baton has been passed to us. Let's run with it as far and as fast as we can. Let's take advantage of this golden opportunity to be soldiers waging peace."
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