Home > Columnists > President Trump Proclaims: Pray for Permanent Peace at 11 a.m. this Memorial Day! | George Gantz

President Trump Proclaims: Pray for Permanent Peace at 11 a.m. this Memorial Day! | George Gantz

About The Author

George Gantz is a retired business executive with a life-long passion for mathematics, science, philosophy and theology. He holds a BS in Mathematics with Honors Humanities from Stanford University and directs the online Forum on Integrating Science and Spirituality (www.swedenborgcenterconcord.org). George is a member of Promoting Enduring Peace.

The White House, as customary, has issued a Memorial Day Proclamation to honor our fallen servicemen and women.  In the 2017 Proclamation, President Trump has issued a call for a prayer for permanent peace:  “I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11 a.m. of that day as a time when people might unite in prayer.”

This is praiseworthy, however a little history lesson helps put this in perspective.  In 2016, President Obama used nearly the same words in his Proclamation.  However, this time President Trump is not guilty of plagiarism – similar language has been used in the Presidential Memorial Day Proclamation for more than 60 years.  In 1953, President Eisenhower declared “a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning at eleven o’clock in the morning of that day, Eastern Daylight Saving Time, as a period in which all the people of the Nation, each according to his religious faith, may unite in solemn prayer.”  In fact, the U.S. Congress, in a joint resolution approved May 11, 1950, as amended (36 U.S.C. 116), requested that each President issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace.

While the words may be largely a formality, it is useful to reflect on the common aspiration they have reflected over the years, and to consider – how are we doing in meeting that aspiration?

Specifically, has the U.S. government in general, and President Trump in particular,  been promoting permanent peace?

Consider the following:

The United States is the largest arms exporter in the world  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/arms-trade-exporters-importers-weapons-transfers-sipri-a6891491.html

The US will be spending nearly $1 trillion to upgrade its nuclear armaments https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/USNuclearModernization

President Trump Pushes for $110 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia  https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/18/world/middleeast/jared-kushner-saudi-arabia-arms-deal-lockheed.html?_r=0

In April, the U.S. dropped the largest non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal in Afghanistan http://www.cnn.com/2017/04/14/asia/afghanistan-isis-moab-bomb/

Proposed 2018 budget cuts foreign aid (U.S. bilateral foreign-aid accounts; funding for the United Nations, World Bank, and other international institutions; and the State Department’s diplomatic duties) by 31%  https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/04/what-trumps-foreign-aid-budget-means-to-the-rest-of-the-world/521553/

The evidence suggests that the U.S. is NOT living up to the aspirations for permanent peace.  This is something to pray for at 11 a.m. on Memorial Day.

 

2 comments

  1. This article in Think Progress bears out the conclusion that we are heading in the wrong direction: https://thinkprogress.org/trump-budget-sacrifices-diplomacy-ca9c5d1d705f

  2. Peace through strength.

    As noted by the author: the proclamation is a formality and a praiseworthy one. So we are all to reflect on President Trump’s performance in promoting permanent peace? Well the author has already done that for us and- surprise!- found it lacking. In this environment of all-out assault on President Trump and every move he makes, the Memorial Day Proclamation becomes another club to beat him.
    I don’t know of a president since Eisenhower who would pass that test at end of their presidency, no less in the first 100+ days.
    Memorial Day is set aside to honor the sacrifice on the battlefield of so many for their country. If this doesn’t fill one’s heart with gratitude, pride, and sadness, well, then you don’t have one. Finally, the effect of those sentiments can only be a resolve to avoid the inevitable loss of life in war, and seek peace. Because this is easier said than done does not preclude us from saying it.

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