Not on Nov. 11
All combat vets need time to decompress. I learned to admire the Vietnamese people during my time in Vietnam, but I chose to avoid all things Vietnamese for at least a year after my return. Had I gone to a program to honor my service on Veteran's Day and discovered part way through the service that Vietnamese culture and religion was being celebrated along with my sacrifice, I am not certain how I would have reacted. At the very least, I would have left the building. By all means perform the program, but not on Nov. 11th.
The root of all wars
We were offended by Pastor David Walls and the other officials at the First Congregational Church by their lack of understanding of today's U.S. military and their disregard of the First Amendment by barring the Muslim Call to Prayer portion of the Mass for Peace, and shame on director Jeffrey Cobb for his spineless decision to continue the performance piecemeal.
This country's military is not a "Christians-only" organization and one needed only to visit our Veterans Day Memorial to the Michigan Fallen at the Open Space to see the names of Muslim-Americans along with Christians, Jews and others who gave their lives for freedom and peace.
Censoring their religious beliefs as though it were somehow offensive to veterans makes a mockery of their sacrifice and reflects a shameful benightedness and bigotry not welcome in this community. Former Air Force Officer Michael Weinstein said, "When one proudly dons a U.S. military uniform, there is only one religious symbol: the American flag."
Pastor Walls' intolerance in a forum dedicated to the celebration of peace illustrates to our community how ignorance perpetuates the tribalism at the root of all wars.
James A. Kulczyk