Updated: Nov 11, 2020
The United States calls it veterans day, however the original significance of this day should not be lost among the general thankfulness we have for our brave men and women in the service. Armistice Day commemorates the end of what is now one of most overlooked wars in United States history, the great war, the war to end all wars, World War I.
World War I, overshadowed by its younger, more destructive, and more costly brother, World War II, is something of a footnote in history today due to its lack of flair and stakes that the second world war has embodied in history lessons and pop culture. Defined by an assassination of an archduke and alliances coming to each others aid as opposed to an extremely charismatic speaker and the horrific and destructive attack on the American homeland on December 7th 1941. This does not negate its significance and impact on the world as we moved from outdated tactics of the past, the emergence of new technology, and the new world of automatic rifles, tanks, enormous battleships, and the airplane. The world, being on the cusp of many technological achievements meant a very different kind of war fighting than the past of standing in rows and firing at each other. This lead to some of the biggest feature of the first world war, the trenches.
A true nightmare of the Great War, the trenches were the defining feature of a seemingly endless conflict. The horrors seen in the trenches would seem to be one of the main reasons, in my opinion, for the declaration of the holiday for the veterans that are fortunately still with us. While there had always been respect and admiration for our service members in the history of the United States before the Great War, it would seem the horrors of the tench lead to a new level of respect for our veterans leading to declaring Armistice Day a national Holliday on May 13, 1938.
The Holliday would remain Armistice Day until the 83rd Congress decided to change the name to honor the brave service men that fought in the second world war and had faced down aggression in Korea. Legislation was passed by Congress to amend the act of 1938 and strike the word Armistice and replace it with Veterans on June 1, 1954. However we want to focus on the Armistice.
Commemorated for the signing of the Armistice on November 11th at 11:00. Generally associated with the poppy from the famous poem “In Flanders Fields” where the only thing that can grow in the muddy battle field is a poppy. Worn on the lapel with the green leaf proudly facing 11 o’cock to signify the time of the armistice. A stark, colorful reminder of those who have paved the way for our current generation. The best among us going off to foreign lands to secure the freedom of not only us here in the homeland but for our fellow people around the world.
We began remembering this day for what was supposed to be the war to end all wars. Unfortunately, it was for not, arguably it in itself setting up the word for the horrors of the second world war and the rise of the communist powers that led to our endless conflicts and current investment in the middle east. We remember all those that made the ultimate sacrifice for our current freedoms, we honor them daily by engaging in our God given freedoms and rights. We remember the veterans that are still with us and we should strive to tackle the horrible homelessness problem facing our veteran community. On this veterans day let us not forget those veterans that served and are now facing abandonment in the land for which they fought. Perhaps it is time we open our heats as christians and return the favor. Acting as christ would, with compassion and hope for those willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for us.
“Have mercy upon me, O God, according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions” Psalm 51:1