Monday, November 12, 2007


by Gina Sestak

Today is Veterans Day, and one of the few jobs I've never held is military service.

In the 1960s, though, while I was working my way through college and struggling just to survive, I did manage to devote my few free hours to an unpaid volunteer job, helping young men avoid becoming veterans. That was during the war in Viet Nam, and the draft was forcing young men into service to their country. I helped out by typing applications for conscientious objector status. If the government could be convinced that a draft-eligible man was sincerely a pacifist, he could do alternative service, fulfilling his military obligation by working in human services.

I volunteered at the Friends Meeting House, Pittsburgh's Quaker Center, in conjunction with the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), which was founded in 1917 to provide young Quakers and other conscientious objectors an opportunity to serve those in need instead of fighting during World War I. In 1947, the AFSC received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Veterans Day began as Armistice Day, you may remember. November 11 marked the end of World War I, the "war to end all wars." War hasn't ended, though, so some of us are trying an alternative method to put an end to war. Every month, on the 15th, the World Dreams Peace Bridge, an international on-line peace group, urges everyone to dream for peace. Will you join me on November 15 to dream some peace into this troubled world?


Tory said...

Wow, Gina, I'm impressed that you were able to devote time to volunteer activity while you were just barely making it!

Now, about dreaming for peace. Are you talking about lucid dreaming? Creating an image of what you'd like to see?

Gina said...

Tory -

The dreaming doesn't have to be lucid.* We usually try to incubate a dream by setting the theme before we go to sleep. Some people find it helpful to write a note to their dreams just before going to bed, i.e.: "Dear Dreams, Tonight I would like to dream for peace." There's more specific information available on the World Dreams Peace Bridge website, under the heading "Dafamu" (which is our term for a collective dream of good fortune).

*A "lucid" dream is one in which the dreamer is aware of being in a dream while it is still going on, and so can exercise some conscious control over the dream's content.

Nancy said...

You continue to amaze me. I'll be dreaming.

Annette said...

I have never made a conscious effort to dream about something. Of course, I've had dreams that flowed from issues that filled my waking hours during that particular day. And I've consciously requested to NOT dream about something, following a spell of recurring nightmares. But this is a good cause and I will make the attempt.

Thanks, Gina, for an enlightening post. Om Shanti (that's Sanskrit for peace for those who have never chanted in yoga class)