Remembering a Peace Veteran

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As the media and other voices of the state continue to twist Armistice Day into another War-Lovers holiday, I am reminded of a genuine hero from World War I. A man who was later to become a very good friend, Howard Moore, had been ordered to report for military service in that war. He refused to do so, declaring himself conscientiously opposed to war. He was prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced to a 25 year prison term. Throughout his ordeal — even while in prison in Utah — he was given the opportunity to recant his peaceful dispositions, but refused to do so. In prison, he refused to participate in any ordered activity, for which he was beaten, tortured, and made to sleep on a concrete floor. After the war was over, the conscientious objector prisoners had their convictions commuted, but Howard was one of the last to be released (due to his insistence upon being a peaceful, self-owning person). While Howard had been born two months prematurely, and with a defective heart, and had been so badly maltreated by the state, he lived to the age of 104. He was one of the kindest and most thoughtful persons I have ever known.

The image of the staunchly individual Howard Moore is firmly contrasted in my mind with that of those fungible, uniformly-clad, robotized gangs of troops dragged out for public consumption for yet another day of whooping up public support for the lowest of popular sentiments.

7:33 pm on November 11, 2012