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WNIJ Perspectives

Perspective: Veteran's Day

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Today is Veterans Day, one of two national holidays devoted to honoring our armed services. On Memorial Day, we remember those who gave what Lincoln termed "the last full measure of devotion." Today we pause as a nation to say, "Thank you for your service." 

 

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But why observe Veterans Day on November 11?  It used to be called "Armistice Day." In Europe it is often called " Remembrance Day." In 1918, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, an armistice was declared, ending World War I. The guns fell silent. It was "All Quiet on The Western Front." Veterans on this day sell poppies to commemorate the heart-rending poem "In Flanders Field." This was to be "the war to end all wars." How perfectly charming was the thought. How perfectly naive. 
 
The original and sobering meaning of November 11 will emerge from the way the day is portrayed in European media. The observance will be achingly somber. Why? Because the British and the French alone lost over two million soldiers. Germany lost almost two million. The war devastated European society as it was then constituted. 
 
So observe this day as Americans do -- with gratitude. Let us wish fervently for more heroes to honor on Veterans Day and fewer heroes to mourn on Memorial Day.  

 

I'm Bob Evans and that is my perspective. 

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