Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

My younger son gets a day off from high school today.

It's Veterans Day.

Veterans Day or Remembrance Day is observed Nov. 11. "Major hostilities of World War I were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 with the German signing of the Armistice" according to Wikipedia. And other wars are remembered today as well.

On the one hand, my son gets a day off because others fought and died. On the other hand, I would rather he didn't get a day off if it meant the slaughter and loss would be erased.

World War I was sometimes referred to as "the war to end all wars."

It didn't work.

And neither will this one.


  1. Here in Canada it is only a day off for Federal employees and banks, kids all go to school and have Veteran's speak and observe a moment of silence.
    From a generational point of view, my grandfather, born in Scotland was 4 years too young for WW1, so he fudged his birth certificate to be of age. Along comes WW2 and he was too old, again comes out the magic marker and he served in WW2 as well. All changes taken into account he passed away at the age of 105(approx). I don't think anyone in the generations since then would have taken up arms for Queen and Country in the way that generation did. Good or bad , not for me to decide. I served for a while in the same regiment that my grandfather did, lost some buddies over the recent years in Afghanistan. I can only say for what purpose this violence, this loss ?

  2. Have you watched Cold Mountain? I watched it the other night. Bawled my eyes out, but so what, what am I going to do.

  3. BD -- My mother's father went to Canada before the U.S. decided to join in WWI. He became an aviator and looked quite dashing in his uniform. I imagine, but don't know, that he felt a sense of duty mixed with that sense of invincible excitement that the young can feel.

    Who will remember the Battle of the Somme (1.5 million casualties) or the Christmas Truce (in which both British and German forces simply called an unacknowledged truce, sang carols, played soccer, swapped supplies and drove their generals nuts), or any of the other, smaller but no less deadly encounters?

    I'm not a fan of hyperbole, but WWI, like the wars that followed it, was unspeakable, obscene, and insane ... and yet here I am speaking or weeping or whatever the hell I'm doing.

    I once had a calligraphy of a tea bowl next to which Paul Reps had written, "Drinking green tea, I stop the war."

    May it be so.