Folks, we need a different day to celebrate Veterans Day. I think our vets need to be honored but by corrupting Armistice Day we risk losing the REAL meaning of the this important day. November 11 was set aside to reflect on the horror of the Great War. A war of such mechanized murder, gore and heroic tragedy that its likes are unknown before or since. Eleven million soldiers died in that war as great armies using outdated Napoleonic tactics charged through modern barbed wire and machine gun fire. They charged, some on horses, through poison gas and flamethrowers. You know the refrain. “On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day of the eleventh month — all quiet on the Western Front.”
In the US today we have a habit of dumbing down everything to the point of little meaning. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is right to honor all of our veterans on a day of celebration. But Armistice Day is NOT that day.
Armistice Day is a solemn day of remembrance for those that died in that Great War. It is a time of planned solemnity when we ask ourselves to pledge that it will never again happen.
Sadly, it has happened again and again. I think, on November 11th, we should try our best to not celebrate the tragedy of war but to reflect on the absolute horror of what war was and is. (I wrote a similar blog 2 years ago)
When I was a kid, I remember Armed Forces day. It was when we cheered the veterans of the Second World War, the Korean War and the few WW1 veterans that remained. It embraced all of our vets. It was right to do that then and it would be right today.
But somehow, I resent Armistice Day being celebrated as Veterans Day in the same way I find wishing someone Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas just bling politeness. It has less meaning. Everyone is cheated when we melt everything down to a slurry of lowest common denominator.
So, I want to share with all of you a hope for a solemn Armistice Day. A day when we are asked to look at the failure of the human ability to separate nationalistic fervor with a tragic comedy of errors. WW1 resulted in what can be seen as the greatest preventable tragedy of judgment in modern history.
No, on November the 11th we should not be patting all the vets on the back and thanking them for their service. On November the 11th we should be looking within ourselves and seeking a greater good.