I knew this was coming. I knew that as soon as we widely publicized our "War Memorial" that someone like Joanne Singh would write wondering why we don't have a "Peace Memorial."
I enjoy being an alumni director of a huge university with a couple of hundred thousand alumni who represent all sides of controversy. Really. I am not sure of whether my centrist political nature has helped me in my profession or whether my profession has molded my sensitivity for all sides of challenging, oft gut-wrenching and always thought provoking issues. But I am certain that people see things differently and that their passions are valid regardless of point of view.
So I will do my best to answer Joanne who writes:
Is there a peace memorial on campus for Conscientious Objectors, speakers and writers and protestors for peace and against wars, persons and organizations who try to help victims of wars and atrocities? Many have given their lives for goodness, for compassionate living, for loving one's neighbor as oneself. How do we honor them? Joanne Singh
So far we have no Peace Memorial on our campus. That doesn't mean we couldn't though. 12 years ago we had no War Memorial. A small cadre of determined graduates from the 40's decided we needed to memorialize their fallen classmates from WW II. They raised the necessary funds, petitioned the university administration, designed the monument and worked with the university to get it erected in 1996. They annually hold a ceremony during Homecoming that evokes significant emotion. I find that the vintage plane flyover, the laying of the wreathes and the playing of Taps fills me with gratitude for what I concede to be the greatest generation.
So what about the subsequent generations Joanne? Can we stake a claim? Can any of our Aztec alumni muster the organizational, political and philanthropic capital to memorialize peace on our campus? Its doable. San Diego State University and President Steve Weber have an incredible track record for partnering with community and external constituencies to make a real difference in our collective quality of life. This just may be an initiative worth pursuing.
Finally, I believe we do honor our alumni for goodness and compassionate living. Each year when I hear the stories our "Montys" award winners have to tell, I am truly inspired. http://alumni.sdsu.edu/montys/past_awardees.htm Who knows, perhaps Joanne will receive a "Monty" someday for being the driving force behind our campus "Peace Memorial."