War Dead Are Victims of Peace Failure: Reagan

Associated Press

President Reagan, beginning a week that will take him to Geneva for a summit meeting with Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev, marked Veterans Day today with the reminder that all those who died in war “were victims of a peace process that failed.”

And he resolved to take common sense with him to the bargaining table.

“All we can do is remember them and what they did and why they had to be brave for us,” Reagan told a crowd of nearly 6,000 people who attended a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery. “All we can do is try to see that other young men never have to join them.

“Today, as never before, we must pledge to remember the things that will continue the peace.”


Wreath Placed

Before his speech, Reagan placed a wreath at the tomb and bowed his head in silent prayer. Then, accompanied by Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger, he walked a few yards to the columned amphitheater, where the crowd of invited guests and public spectators filled nearly all the stone slab benches.

Reagan, who leaves Saturday for Geneva and the summit talks that begin next week, concluded his remarks by departing from his text to say, “Through whatever coincidence or accident of timing, I tell you that a week from now and some thousands of miles away, believe me, the memory and the importance of this day will be in the forefront of my mind and of my heart.”

Peace Through Strength

Earlier, he drew applause when he told the audience made up largely of veterans and their families, “Perhaps we can start by remembering this: that all of those who died for us and our country were, in one way or another, victims of a peace process that failed; victims of a decision to forget certain things--to forget, for instance, that the surest way to keep a peace going is to stay strong.

“Peace fails when we forget what we stand for,” the President added. “Peace also fails when we forget to bring to the bargaining table God’s first intellectual gift to man: common sense. . . . “Peace is imperiled,” he said, “when we forget to try for agreements and settlements and treaties, when we forget to hold out our hands and strive, when we forget that God gave us talents to use in securing the ends he desires. Peace fails when we forget that agreements, once made, cannot be broken without a price.”