For the sake of the children

“For the sake of the children, we work for peace.” Friday, I held a sign bearing this slogan at the courthouse corner in downtown Tiffin in commemoration of Veterans Day. I wanted to point out to all passersby that together we can pursue a world without war, a world which will be safe and happy for our young people.

This same ideal also was supported by four local veterans, including Louie Lee from our St. Francis Campus, speaking at Calvert Catholic.

One of the speakers said it so poignantly: “If you like living in a furnace, like eating bread that is always soaking wet and like being in wet clothes 24/7, then it (war) is the place for you.” This speaker continued: “War is not glory, it is not glamorous. It is evil. I hope you never have to see that.”

In 2016 alone, there were wars happening in 20 countries causing the deaths of close to 150,000 men, women, children. It is important to remember that these wars not only killed people, but also seriously destroyed the countryside, the vegetation, schools, homes, hospitals and countless other necessary local services.

War truly is evil. War, likewise, reaps evil. Children killed through wars deserve a chance of a happy life as much as our kids. Old arguments that sometimes war is necessary or that some people must die as “collateral damage” no longer are acceptable. They do not “hold water” in our day.

Waging war is tagged “antiquated and obscene” as a way of settling conflict — in a day when communication is instant, when alliances can abound, when sanctions can pressure leaders to listen in new ways.

When President Donald Trump met with China’s president Xi Jinping Friday, Pope Francis at the same time issued a statement condemning the “very possession of nuclear weapons.” He said the world should rather shift from the Cold War deterrence policies to total nuclear disarmament.

A bold statement for sure! That could mean countries which presently are working intently on defensive postures or more “deterrence” weaponry should convert the energies and monies it takes to build, manage and refurbish nuclear arsenals into constructive nonviolence social efforts and policies.

Such a thought energizes me. Imagine, for a moment, the United States publicly offering the world a different model of “keeping the peace.” Imagine the United States — even for one year — using the greater percentage of its gross national product to build, to heal, to address our infrastructure, our social needs.

Our children — everyone’s children — deserve to develop: safe in their environment, fed with enough good nutrition, able to use their mind through opportunities which we adults need to provide. The young ones see that just as they are ordered not to bully in school by parents, counselors, etc., why can’t their parents get along with neighbors and other folks, too, whom they have negative feelings about?

Cannot the parents of today — little by little — encourage and work for the kind of town, country they want their kids to live in? One by one, step by step! Nonviolence efforts promoted in the schools must surely carry over into the home in every way possible. Anything that can be envisioned can truly happen — for the sake of our children.

Sister Paulette Schroeder,