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Armistice Day, Veteran's Day


DP Veteran
Oct 9, 2017
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Armistice Day, today, November 11 was set aside to honor the end of WWI, the war to end all wars that didn't achieve its goal, and commemorate the ultimate sacrifice made by true American warriors. Some Europeans also celebrate the dead from the war, at times with other names for the day. This year this national holiday is 100 years old. We now call it Veteran's Day to honor all soldiers who have fallen for the benefit of this nation. And in typical American fashion, this Federal holiday, falling on Sunday, will be observed tomorrow, on a Monday, for a three day weekend to accommodate what is more important to many Americans, shopping and sales.

My family is a bit unusual. Tho there are many families who recall ancestors who contributed, both before and after the Revolution, to the development of this nation, my extended family, as it did overseas, maintains a continuance, an identity that reaches back to before the French Indian wars, encompassing all those immigrants, lawful and otherwise, who married into our family, making it stronger, and weaker at times, but maintaining a dedication to service in behalf of the nation, at times right and wrong, as an obligation for all that we enjoyed along the way and now. There is no wanting for thanks, which we as a family find disingenuous, only our own appreciation for doing right in fulfilling that obligation.

Over the years, the holiday changed to include soldiers from all American wars. A good change. But unfortunately, not one of those wars ended war in this world, or for out nation. And it becomes questionable wether the sacrifice of so man many has been in vain. However, ending wars in toto has never really been the goal, merely putting down mad dogs of humanity who care nothing for the lives of others when their own vanity wrecked havoc. Satan was thrown out of heaven for his vanity. Not that I am a religious man, but that's the story. I believe those sacrifices were necessary, even when I don't agree with the underlying causes. And despite treaties between former enemies, commitments of friendship, we are still fighting most of those wars. The Civil War in this nation still left a fractured culture for the nation. WWI reemerged with WWII, and WWII has never stopped, despite those treaties and vows of friendship. The adversaries may be different, but the war continues. Sad.

This morning, a caravan of more than 800 of my extended family members, at 5AM, began a tour at nearby Veterans Cemeteries to pay respects, with moments of silent prayers for those most of us never met, a few words of poignancy from those who speak well, at each stop. The different cemetery officials know us from previous years, as do local police, who both make this sojourn a bit easier, and do their best to keep the media away, the latter quite an accomplishment. We do this annually to respect fallen family members, not for our own moments in the sun. Not all family members attended, some are too ill, some to old and frail, some still too young, some live too far away, and others in service in parts far away, tho more than enough uniforms were on display, including some their wearers no longer fit.

By 8PM, we had visited the graves of all locally buried family members who made the sacrifice. Words were spoken for those not conveniently buried nearby, at the last stop for us. We all said out goodbyes and headed wherever we were going, but mostly to our own homes. I was accompanied by my wife, my two boys and two girls, all now adults who work for the public good and have serve, their older children, my grandchildren who must face the future and their own decisions.

As a long former soldier who served in combat, I say this: There is no glory in war. The last persons who want war are the soldiers who step forward to do a job because it must be done. Very simple. I have no answers for anyone, or myself, about obligatory sacrifices for this nation, but I do love the freedoms we enjoy. I ask you all, who read this, to do no more think about the small things we enjoy that we take for granted, and remember there were those who laid down their lives so we can enjoy what we have. A small bit of respect for the sacrifices of many, sacrifices made for the good of many. Then, go enjoy a football game, a movie, a book, whatever and your family, just like the fallen would have done.
America got into WWI very late in the game. By 1917 Europe had lost an entire generation of young men. All wars are brutal, but WWI stands out as particularly grisly. what a waste, an entire generation of men just gone. As evidence look at the casualty figures compared to WWII.
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