Civilian War Casualties Day

This is a call for an informal Civilian War Casualties Day. A call to you to help a community group acknowledge once a year the suffering caused, intentionally or coincidentally, to civilians by war and terrorism.

We should spend a few moments away from celebrity news and mass entertainment to better understand how wars have inflicted enormous suffering on civilians.

What activities could happen on Civilian War Casualties Day?

I suggest a de-centralized movement, with groups in various communities deciding by themselves which events would best help other people understand the extent of civilian casualties, and to consider ways to reduce suffering in the future.

My personal preference is for emphasis on education and awareness, which involves events like panel discussions, guest speakers, films and discussion, and photography exhibits. Some groups might offer arts performances or other activities.

Are there many civilian war casualties?

The ratio of civilian war deaths to combatants’ deaths in the last hundred years has been estimated at about ten to one. Perhaps 30,000,000 civilians perished in World War II, and smaller wars since then have caused millions of new civilian casualties. Civilians are dying right now.

While “casualties” refers to people killed, wounded, or missing, I imagine that some people will see a series of concentric circles of secondary civilian casualties — refugees, populations feeling terrorized and intimidated, the families who grieve, and perhaps people whose lives would be better if their government did not spend fortunes on unnecessary wars.

Which day of the year?

Let’s observe Civilian War Casualties Day every October 15.  Because college campuses are the most likely sites for Civilian War Casualty Day events, I hope that communities select dates when colleges are fully in session.

My hope is that some groups will select days appropriate to their community (For example, a group in Atlanta, Georgia, might select July 22, the central date for the 1861 Battle of Atlanta).

Where did this start?

I organized one initial event in Napa, California, in 2013.

Why veterans should be supportive

Most veterans and active service personnel believe that they have served in order to protect civilians in their own country, and sometimes civilians in other countries. Some veterans should be able to make strong contributions to our understanding and awareness of civilian war casualties at October 15 events, as can many others.


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