Another Veterans/Armistice Day

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Veterans Day originally started in 1919 as Armistice Day, a celebration of the end of hostilities in World War One. In 1938, it was declared, “…[A] day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace[.]” In 1947, the holiday was expanded to remember veterans from all U.S. wars. One hundred years later, we have more veterans than when we started.

My personal views on Veterans Day has been shaped in large part by my upbringing as an Army brat. I lived on Army and Air Force bases. I hung out with the kids of other Army personnel. I was reminded quite often that the world isn’t always a calm place. When people want to do violence, someone is always going to have to take part in it. My dad was going to be one of them.

Now that I’m older, I find myself examining something difficult in my country. Many people in my country prefer peace to war. The only people I’ve met who spoil to make more veterans of horrible combat are people who don’t have to take any part in it. It’s become more obscene to me over the years. At some point, people stop treating veterans as people and survivors. Instead, they’re sacrosanct commodities that can be spent and forgotten.

In other words, we can talk about veterans so long as we don’t actually talk about them as people. If we did that, maybe we’d remember that we’re also supposed to be celebrating the cause of world peace. Veterans should be a reminder of the human cost of war. They should be kept in mind any time we as a nation decide to make more of them.

I think that acknowledging the sacrifice of veterans is the same as acknowledging the need for peace. Military personnel are the ones who benefit the most from peaceful resolution of conflict. Their lives have worth, and their service should never be wasted.

To everyone this Armistice and Veterans Day 2019, I wish you the best.

9 thoughts on “Another Veterans/Armistice Day

  1. Beautifully written. I wish WordPress had a “Love” button for this.

    In your experience as an army brat and as someone who watches the world with such a thoughtful and intelligent lens: What do you think we as a nation should do to help our veterans? Attending parades and taking a moment of silence once or twice a year are well and good, but I think we ought to go beyond remembrance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Personally, I think the easiest and most straightforward thing to do is to hold Federal elected officials accountable for the VA system. It’s still a quagmire. My little brother is a veteran, and he’s afraid to get medical care from a VA hospital.

      Everyone who has gone into combat was promised medical care for the rest of their lives. They need this care, from mental health to prosthetic care to physical therapy. A shrug and a “It’s complicated” isn’t good enough.

      Outside of that, ask a veteran if there’s anything they need help with. Everyone’s different, and you never know when a little thing might help them out.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think it’s GOOD that we give Veterans a special day of remembrance … but what they REALLY need is more and better healthcare. Especially those suffering from PTSD.

    IMO, based on some things that happened locally, it seems the government is more focused on the administrative processes and/or the individuals running same than they are the actual health care. As in so many areas, the bottom line is all they can see. And the individuals who gave arms, legs, and spirit are simply part of a balance sheet.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Sirius

    We don’t see eye to eye on much, but I concur with all of this I am a veteran, a veteran of conflict, and my children started life as Army brats. I even concede that sometimes conflict is warranted. Yet, our willingness to toss young lives away and destroy families on seeming whims is disturbing.

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  4. Hi SB,
    We were at a show on Saturday night – Matt Minglewood (a well-loved Cape Bretoner here in Canada. .. 72 and still rockin’!). Anyway, his last number of the night was Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World”. His preamble to that song went something like this –
    “Seeing how it’s Remembrance Day on Monday, I figure I ought to do something in that regard. I grew up knowing many service people and still have many friends in service. War is a nasty business. And don’t forget – it’s a business. Unfortunately it’s soldiers who pay the price – always remember that.” 😦

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  5. Armistice Day (Nov 11th) is largely ignored here. We commemorate all that is terrible about military conflict and all the sacrifices made (on both sides) on April 25th – ANZAC Day. Survivors of conflict don’t get any recognition above that which others who were less fortunate get. I don’t know whether that’s a good or bad thing.

    As far as health care is concerned, our socialised health system takes care of that, so it’s not the issue it appears to be in the US.

    Liked by 1 person

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