Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share
9 November 2017
Wrong Veterans Day? That’s Right.
Why is November 11 the wrong Veterans Day? For one thing, it is not REALLY Veterans Day. It is Armistice Day and solemnly honored as Remembrance Day throughout Europe and Canada and Australia.
You know the refrain, “on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month… all quiet on the Western Front.”
That’s correct. November 11th marks the armistice that ended The Great War (WW1).
They had no idea at the time that there could be a Second World War. So, it is not called WW1 until AFTER WW2.
Look, I write this blog every year around the 11th of November. And it is still the wrong Veterans Day celebration. If you rail against political correctness join me in a thought.
Armistice Day is a remembrance of those who died in this unspeakable conflict. So unspeakable it seems that no one seems to remember it. Or, speak it.
But, as a promise to never let it happen again, it HAS great meaning.
Instead, we have dumbed it down to a thank you for your service. And readily confuse it with Memorial Day and Armed Forces Day (do you remember that celebration?).
If you hate the meaningless Happy Holidays and want Merry Christmas back— let’s also bring back Armistice day.
“It’s not Veterans Day. It’s Armistice Day. It seems much easier to say thank you for your service than it is to be smart enough to promise never again.”
Veterans Day is Remembrance Day in Canada
On a recent trip to Canada, I noticed that many wore the red poppy on coats and jackets.
(Are you old enough to remember when veteran groups in the US distributed these same red poppies?)
The horror of the Great War. Certainly not lost on the generation that fought in WW2.
But the generation of Vietnam and the Middle East forgets.
It’s my generation’s all consuming self-importance.
The Numbers for Wrong Veterans Day
Let’s compare some numbers.
In the Great War, there were 20 million deaths and 21 million wounded. Almost identical to World War 2.
By contrast, a Vietnam demographic study in Population and Development Review calculated 791,000–1,141,000 war-related Vietnamese deaths.
Both soldiers and civilians— for all of Vietnam from 1965–75.
Those numbers include the 60,000 Americans.
Think about the horrid casualties at Gettysburg in the US Civil War.
There were 7,058 fatalities (3,155 Union, 3,903 Confederate). Another 33,264 wounded.
Compare Gettysburg to the Battle of the Somme in the Great War. One million men were wounded or killed at the Somme. A million.
One of the bloodiest battles in human history.
Americans Forget about the Great War
We overlook it. Forget it.
Why? Easy. The US only fought in the last year of the war.
The rest of the world slogged it out for a full three years before Jack Pershing put the first US regiments into the trenches.
Little appreciation of history.
Armistice Day is important to remember, not the Wrong Veterans Day
Why is it important to call a spade a spade? Because the promise to never be so stupid again still resonates. Or it should resonate.
Please, go ahead and thank all the vets you see on Veterans Day. Its a nice thing to do.
But it’s the wrong Veterans Day celebration.
When you see vets, tell them you will not go blindly into more of these horrid world catastrophes.
Tell them never again. We don’t WANT new veterans of war.
In today’s warfare, 20 million dead, like in the Great War, well, that’s just a good start.
Just day one, if you think about it.
Thanks for your service.
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