on 28 May 2012
The People’s Record Memorial Day Dedication (photo source)
Daniel Sandate - American Hero
Conscientious objectors and war resisters are heroes.
We are proud to celebrate Daniel Sandate, war resisters and conscientious objectors on Memorial Day. Conscientious objectors are those heroic individuals (like Daniel Sandate) who refuses to perform a “military duty or service” on the grounds of conscience, freedom of thought, and sometimes religion. They are often labeled illegal war resisters, regarded as criminals by the imperialist nations that demand their lives, and forced to live their lives in exile.
The United Nations Commission on Human Rights defined, clarified, and broadened the international definition of conscientious objection in 1998 with a document “Conscientious objection to military service, United Nations Commission on Human Rights resolution 1998/77”. This document made it clear that those performing military service have a right to decide, during service that they have a conscientious objection to their nation’s military service.
In the United States
Until 1971, conscientious objectors could only be recognized as such for religious reasons. The Supreme Court decisions Gillette v. United States changed that, although the ruling did not allow for the basis of objection to be an objection to specific wars.
The burden to prove that one is in fact a “sincere” conscientious objector who is opposed to all war in any context (which is the criteria for one to qualify as a conscientious objector in the United States) is heavy and most war resisters in the United States do not qualify for “conscientious objector” status and are therefore forced into prison or exile.
Daniel Sandate is just one of many conscientious objectors who have been subjected to living in exile or being subjected to military trials and imprisonment. Daniel Sandate is an Iraq War veteran who had returned home from his first tour, objected to serving another term, and was refused adequate mental and physical health care by the United States Army. He fled to Ontario, where he resided until a failed suicide attempt identified him. He was brought back to the United States, and served eight months in prison. Sandate is now a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War.
Click here for a complete list of The People’s Record’s Memorial Day dedications.