Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

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On this date, 99 years ago, the guns fell silent on the Western Front in Europe. Four years of bitter bloodletting had come to an end. The War to End All Wars was over.

War however, was far from over.

In the year of my birth, this day was still known as Armistice Day. When I was born, the Korean War was still raging, that would end some two and a half months after my birth. The following year, 1954, Armistice Day became Veterans Day. A World War II vet, Raymond Weeks, had the idea to create a Federal holiday to honor all of America's veterans.

In Canada and the United Kingdom (and most Commonwealth nations) it is known as Remembrance Day. A day set aside to remember those members of the armed forces who died in service to their country in the line of duty.

The poppy is a common symbol of Remembrance Day in those nations which observe that day. Something we do here in the United States in observance of Memorial Day.

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Though truth be told, I haven't seen a poppy on Memorial Day in quite some time, when I was younger there were always veterans offering those in the days leading up to the observation.

I have been told "Thank you for your service." by folks on Memorial Day and on Veterans Day. While there is a distinction, Memorial Day being for honoring the fallen, Veterans Day for honoring those who served, I don't fret much about it.

I prefer to remember those who went before me on Veterans Day, especially those who fell. That is a debt which can never be repaid. For me today will always be Remembrance Day.

But in truth, for me, every day is Remembrance Day.

Lest we forget.



16 comments:

  1. Thank you. That was a very good post.

    One wee thing though, the Korean War has not ended ( as I'm sure you know ). There is but a " cease fire ", which one side routinely violates.

    Paul L. Quandt

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    1. True, I claim artistic license.

      That very reason is why I can join the VFW.

      Delete
  2. Veterans still hand out poppy's at the Walmarts in this area on Memorial Day and Veterans day. Maybe it's because of the military bases on both sides of the state line.

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    1. Used to see it here. Haven't in a few years now. Sad.

      Delete
  3. The poppies are seen a lot up from where I moved.
    There are really active VFW and American Legion posts.
    I don't remember seeing any down here in a long, long time.
    I have a theory about it, but I am in a good mood.

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    Replies
    1. Roger that on the theory. I'm sure it matches my own.

      Delete
  4. Thank you for your service, sir.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, for giving us the support we needed.

      Delete
  5. Growing up in the late forties/early fifties in my small rural midwestern town the VFW always sold (handed out?)poppies on the town square. Every adult male seemed to wear one. Alas that practice seemed to slowly wear out during the sixties..

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  6. in fact even the ww1 itself was far from over on the day of armistice...
    Russia was in the throes of civil war
    Poland was forced to fight for almost every border of newly indpendent state, including the spillover from above mentioned Russian civil war
    (side note this is our national Independence Day, celebrating return of Poland to maps of Europe after 123 years of partitions)
    attempted communist revolution led to fighting in Germany and Hungary
    Turkey fought off Greeks and other intervening forces
    and some would argue ww2 was basically second round of same fight

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    1. I would agree with that argument. While things settled down in the West, one could argue that the horror in the East continued until the Soviet Union collapsed.

      Poland was a key player in Eastern Europe's drive for freedom.

      Delete
    2. Pawel,

      Sad to say, but the Westerners always seem to forget most everything historical east of the current German/Austrian border. We in the USA having come to England and France's aid, only remember when we 'officially' stopped fighting. One of our failings as a nation, I guess. We have always had a strong streak of isolationism in our national makeup.

      As to Veterans' Day, I, born in 1963, also remember it being called Armistice Day by many until the late '70s. No idea why, but that's the way I remember it.

      And, well, the kids today have no idea about the significance of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Sad. I guess not actually having any WWI vets around to remind them allows facts like this to slip away, like dust in the wind.

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  7. 2000 vets didn't forget today. I marched in the SanDog Veterans' Day Parade and I've never seen so many vets in one place. I think there were more vets in the parade, than were watching the event, so it was pretty impressive. One of the bennies of living in a military town I'd have to say.

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