At least one person who watched Norwalk's Memorial Day Parade was disappointed by the absence of a veteran participant: People for a Peaceful Tomorrow.
"I miss the Quakers," said Miranda Burns. The group was disallowed from the parade because organizers were unhappy with their conduct last year, according to parade marshal Jim Wrinn. He said group members had yelled slogans at the reviewing stand.
"They're taking a one-year break," he said. Wrinn had planned to take the decision to the parade committee for possible review, but when word leaked to the media he changed his mind.
Denie?d the opportunity to march, People for a Peaceful Tomorrow found a new way to make a presence. The group held a short Memorial Day ceremony at 10:30 a.m. on the steps of the First Congregational Church on the Green, reflecting on the lives of those fallen in war and the possibility of a permanent peace, according to a statement from the group. That was about the time the parade reached the reviewing stand, not far down the road.
Woody Schempp, spokesman for the group, introduced the ceremony by defining People for a Peaceful Tomorrow and its goals as follows, according to a statement: "We are NOT an anti-war group. Our members include those who believe in a just war as well as those who do not believe in war under any circumstances. Our group is one in which one's desire for peace may or may not be based on religious belief. Our group includes veterans who have experienced the horrors of war as well as those without military experience. We are citizens united by one desire - Peace."
Veterans included John Lee, who commanded a 300-foot landing craft during World War II. The craft that was instrumental at Battle of Okinawa, according to the statement.
The ceremony began with a reading of President Truman's Memorial Day Proclamation, issued as a result of a joint resolution of the U.S. Congress, on May 22, 1950. Truman defined that Memorial Day and each succeeding one as a day "which has long been set aside for paying tribute to those who lost their lives in war" and proclaimed that Memorial Day be "dedicated also as a day for nationwide prayer for permanent peace." He designated that "the hour beginning at eleven o'clock in the morning of that day, Eastern Daylight Saving Time, (be) a period in which all our people may unite in prayer, each in accordance with his own religious faith, for divine aid in bringing enduring peace to a troubled world."
The reading was followed by participants sharing their wishes for peace and concluded with the reading of the names of one veteran from each state of the United States, reflecting on the fact that the loss of sons and daughters has been widespread.
The Truman Proclamation:
Since war is the world's most terrible scourge, we should do all in our power to prevent its recurrence.
It was the hope of mankind that with the cessation of hostilities of World War II the way would be open to founding a permanent peace. Instead, that war has left the world in a state of continued unrest. Accordingly, we feel the need of turning in humble suppliance to Almighty God for help and guidance.
In recognition of this need, the Congress has fittingly provided, in a joint resolution which I approved on May 11, 1950, that Memorial Day, which has long been set aside for paying tribute to those who lost their lives in war, shall henceforth be dedicated also as a day for Nation-wide prayer for permanent peace. The Congress has also requested that the President issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe Memorial Day in that manner.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, HARRY S. TRUMAN, President of the United States of America, pursuant to the aforementioned resolution, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, Tuesday, May 30, 1950, and each succeeding Memorial Day, as a day of prayer for permanent peace. And I designate the hour beginning at eleven o'clock in the morning of that day, Eastern Daylight Saving Time, as a period in which all our people may unite in prayer, each in accordance with his own religious faith, for divine aid in bringing enduring peace to a troubled world.
I also request the agencies of the press, radio, television, and other media of public information to join in the observance of that day and of the specified hour by announcements and programs designed to unite the Nation in a universal prayer for permanent peace.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.
DONE at the City of Washington this 22nd day of May in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and fifty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and seventy-fourth. [SEAL]
HARRY S. TRUMAN
By the President:
JAMES E. WEBB, Acting Secretary of State.
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