I wrote this post for last year’s Armistice/Veterans Day. I’ve decided to make it an annual post on this date, at this hour:
It’s Veterans Day. The holiday was originally Armistice Day and commemorated the end of the Great War 102 years ago today, this hour.
In the UK, Canada, and Australia, it’s celebrated as Remembrance Day. It’s almost a talismanic holiday designed to ward off future calamitous wars. A red poppy remains the symbol of this solemn holiday in other English-speaking countries as it still was in the America of my childhood.
Armistice Day was generalized to Veterans Day in 1954 by General President Eisenhower.
As much as I honor the service and sacrifices made by our veterans, including members of my own family, I would like the holiday to revert to its original name and purpose.
Armistice Day’s original purpose was both specific and universal. It was a pacific, not martial holiday. We have plenty of the latter. War should always be the last resort. That was the lesson taught on Armistice Day for many years. It’s one we still need to learn.
The last word goes to Paul Simon and Midnight Oil: