Armistice Day 2021
Updated: Nov 11, 2021
On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the guns went silent across Europe, bringing the Great War to an official close.
The utter madness of the thing was, they were still firing at 10:59.
The period between when the armistice was signed and the when it went into effect puts an exclamation point on how absurd the war was to begin with. Soldiers from both sides knew they had absolutely nothing to gain by continuing the conflict at that point, but their officers pointed them into battle anyway, fully aware that that the only harvest from such a planting would be more dead bodies and broken minds.
After The Great War, nations on the victorious side chose to celebrate Armistice Day. There was widespread hope that no one would ever be so stupid as to start a war of that magnitude again.
Then World War 2 Happened. And The Korean War, and the U.S. was stumbling toward Vietnam. A World War Two veteran named Raymond Weeks thought that the holiday should be expanded to cover veterans from all of America's wars not just WWI. In 1954 he got his wish, and Armistice Day became Veterans Day.
Because there was no war to end all wars. Because there was always going to be another conflict. Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and who knows how many other smaller conflicts, because it doesn't matter if you die in a big war or a small one. Because leaders and nations across the world cannot figure out how to resolve their differences without bloodshed.
Armistice Day was about the conclusion of a war.
Veterans Day is implicitly a recognition that war will never end.
If you really want to honor veterans, make sure their needs are met. Make sure they have housing, and food, and medical and mental help.
And figure out how to stop having wars.