Martin Luther King Jr. Day is observed on the 3rd Monday of January as a Federal Holiday in the United States. The day is observed in celebration of Dr. King’s birthday, January 15, 1929. In 2023 the date of MLK Day is January 16.
Martin Luther King Jr. was the leading figure of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s in the USA. In life Dr. King was at the forefront of the fight against segregation, discrimination and other forms of racism, especially as entrenched in state and federal law. Tragically assassinated in 1967, the legacy of King has continued to inspire those who fight against racism and other forms of social injustice.
Martin Luther King Jr. was committed to the principles of non-violence. King was convinced that the only way to fight against the hate and violence and injustice of racsim was to counter it with peaceful resistance and non-violent protest. Perhaps more than anything else, this is why Dr. King is a hero to millions of people in the US, in Canada, and around the world.
One of the great songs of the 1990’s, “Zombie” by the Cranberries is also one of the great anti-war songs of all time. Dolores O’Riordan wrote the song in response to another atrocity of sectarian violence spilling out of Northern Ireland. In this case two young boys were killed, and over 50 people injured, after an IRA bomb exploded in Warrington, in the northwest of England. O’Riordan was sickened by the bombing, and like most people in Ireland, she had had enough of seeing violence carried out in the name of the Irish. “The IRA are not me. I’m not the IRA,” she said. “The Cranberries are not the IRA. My family are not. When it says in the song, ‘It’s not me, it’s not my family,’ that’s what I’m saying.” (source)
Remembrance Day is November 11. Today at LTSS we will observe Remembrance Day Assemblies.
Armistice Day was established to honour the fallen of the First World War, which formally ended at “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.” Later, the name of the day was changed to Remembrance Day. Canadians served and died in another World War, as well as other wars and peacekeeping missions around the globe. Remembrance Day is a national holiday to honour the memory of those Canadians who have fallen in war.
On Remembrance Day we pay our respect to those that have paid the terrible costs of war. Remembrance Day is not meant to celebrate war or glorify war. War has brought untold suffering and pain to the world. Those who has experienced war, especially those that have lost loved ones in war, know that war is not something to celebrate.
It is also important to remember that Remembrance Day is not one of the those holidays that is just a chance for rest and recreation. Please take some time to reflect on what Remembrance Day is all about. On November 11th at 11:00 AM, plan to take some time to honour those that have died and those that have served. Whether you attend a ceremony in person, or check out the television coverage of the ceremony in Ottawa or other parts of Canada, take some time for Remembrance.
Originally written for The Temptations, “War” was eventually released as a single by Edwin Starr. Although the song has been covered by many artists, including Bruce Springsteen, the preeminent version remains that of Edwin Starr. Originally written as part of the protests against the Vietnam War, Edwin Starr’s peformance of “War” has stood the test of time and remains one of the most famous anti-war anthems to this day.
Join us in your school library this month as we explore and celebrate November’s themes: Peace, non-violence, and alternatives to war.
November is Peace Month in your School Library. Visit us in person and online to find out more about peace, peacemakers, non-violence, civil disobedience, reconciliation, alternatives to war and violence, and more.
From the United Nations: “Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The UN General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire. But achieving true peace entails much more than laying down arms. It requires the building of societies where all members feel that they can flourish. It involves creating a world in which people are treated equally, regardless of their race.”
Happy Thanksgiving to all of our American friends, family and neighbours! Along with Turkey and football games, another staple of American Thanksgiving for many is listening to the 18 minute classic, “Alice’s Restaurant.”
November has been Peace month in the School Library, with an emphasis on understanding peace education, the anti-war movements, civil disobedience and other non-violent means of social change. Such themes overlap with American Thanksgiving in “Alice’s Restaurant.”
Originally released in 1967, Arlo Guthrie’s 18 minute long recording of “Alice’s Restaurant” is a protest song against the Vietnam War. The events described in the song, beginning with a Thanksgiving celebration amongst friends during the sixties, were the inspiration for a film which was released in 1969.
More than 50 years later Guthrie’s signature song is a staple of classic rock radio stations on and around American Thanksgiving.
We previously featured “Give Peace a Chance” by John Lennon on a Songs of Peace post. “Imagine” is arguably his greatest song with or without the Beatles, and certainly one of the most loved and most played songs of the 20th Century.