Memorial Day for everyone, Churchill says
Remember all who died in war, ex-CU professor tells GJ crowd
Memorial Day shouldn’t be a day to commemorate American soldiers alone, former University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill said Monday evening at Sherwood Park.
The last Monday in May is reserved for honoring American veterans, but Churchill urged the crowd of about 50 people who gathered to hear him speak to remember all people who died during wars involving the United States. For him, that includes people on both sides of a battle as well as civilians living in the country where the battle takes place.
“When we look at tombstones of Korean War vets, do we think about the Koreans?” he said. “This is not an argument for the North Korean form of government, but how many Koreans do we recognize as being due proper commemoration on Memorial Day?”
It was one of many questions Churchill would pose to his audience Monday during his two-hour speech. A cigarette constantly in hand, Churchill, 63, also questioned educational institutions and how he feels conservatives view them.
“Educational institutions are a target of the right today. It’s expungement of critical thinking,” Churchill said.
Churchill thanked the group that invited him to the Grand Valley, Confluence Media Collective, the group that publishes alternative publication The Red Pill. Confluence Media member Rhoda Cain said the group decided to invite Churchill simply because it was possible.
“It’s important for people to know not everything is coming up roses in this country,” she said.
Churchill also thanked the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Grand Valley, which backed out of an offer to host his speech 10 days before the event, and the local tea party, who chose to have an event in the Orchard Mesa Cemetery at the same time as Churchill’s speaking engagement.
“Let’s take credit for getting those patriots to act patriotic,” Churchill said to applause.
Not everyone in the crowd cheered what Churchill had to say. One person held a sign that said “Liar for hire,” and another asked Churchill if he felt he could speak as freely in a socialist or communist country as he could in Grand Junction. Churchill said he could, and said he had spoken in Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Russia. When pressed by the crowd member, Churchill said he only spoke against a government while speaking in one of those countries, Venezuela.
He added he felt he hadn’t been able to speak freely in the United States, referencing his 2007 firing from the University of Colorado. A university committee said Churchill had plagiarized and fabricated some research findings, resulting in his termination. But skeptics believe the firing had more to do with a 2001 essay by Churchill that said World Trade Center employees were complicit in American financial operations that shaped U.S. foreign policy, which he blamed for bringing on the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In the essay, Churchill compared pre-9/11 Americans to Germans who ignored Nazi killings.
Packing up a deck chair after hearing Churchill speak Monday, William Martens had mixed views of Churchill.
“He’s saying if we want to be free, we have to be self-critical. I agree with that,” Martens said. “But I don’t necessarily buy into all his general philosophies.”