One Hundred years ago this Sunday, World War I came to its close.
Today, there are only memorials and monuments. No eyewitness remains. And what was once “Armistice Day,” has morphed into “Veterans Day.”
I am a Veteran and I certainly honor and respect my fellow Vets. It was an amazing experience and one that I value. In a military town it isn’t quite as unique, but most of my post-Military life it was always a special moment to meet eyes with a fellow Veteran. That slight nod and a smile. A shared experience, even when I was on a submarine and he was in a tank, or airplane or foxhole. I value Veterans Day for its moment of honoring Veterans. I don’t quite appreciate the arguments and debates over everything from who it precisely honors to how to actually spell it (“Veterans” is the correct spelling), nor am I personally a huge fan of the race to get free stuff. But that’s just me.
I do wish, however, that there was more of an emphasis in this Country on the Armistice Day/Remembrance Day aspect. There is a reason why the VFW offers you a poppy and asks for a small bit of change. There’s a reason why our friends and Allies in the United Kingdom and ANZAC wear poppies today and all this weekend. And that reason was an incredible sacrifice made by men who didn’t start the war, didn’t want to fight the war, and served with honor and distinction for four long years. And or the devil Dogs who came to help finish it. When we demand that we only honor the living Veterans on this day, we forget them.
And I refuse to do that.