Today is Veteran's Day.
A day set aside to honor those who have served to protect and defend our country.
Everyone knows that. We learned about it in grade school- you know back when the holocaust was real and the 'Cold War' was still being fought?
But what many people may not remember, or possibly never really learned way back when, is that Veteran's Day was originally Armistice Day.
What is Armistice you may ask... again because you were too busy watching Nixon being impeached on TV or listening to your grandfather rant how the Russians were planning to take over the world to remember what your teacher was telling you in school.
Armistice is a cessation of fighting by mutual agreement between all parties involved.
And Armistice Day was originally intended as a remembrance of the Armistice Treaty that went into effect at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, thereby effectively ending the First World War... or as it was called by many, "The War To End All Wars"... well, until the next one that is.
So, November 11th at 11:00 am is when the guns stopped shooting and the soldiers stopped marching and the tanks stopped rolling in 1918. And those left standing were able to return to their homes and families in time for Christmas and the Peace-full New Year of 1919.
But the Armistice did not last because, well, let's face it, we ARE human after all, and eternal peace and happiness just aren't part of the genetic code of our species.
Someone had to decide they were "The Man" and start taking over the smaller and less adequately defended countries in Europe-- oh so slyly and quietly so that the bigger, badder nations across the globe did not realize exactly what was happening until it was almost too late.
And of course, The US being the Defender of the Defense-less, and Global Conscience that it is, we got involved. Oh- I mean before Pearl Harbor- we had pilots flying for the RAF out of Canada and Great Britain, we had intelligence personnel in Europe sending back some not-so-nice reports on Adolph and Friends and there were discussions in the governmental bodies about how and when we should intercede.
Then Pearl Harbor happened and just how much trouble Adolph and his Pals in Italy and Japan had gotten into became alarmingly apparent.
Thus the US was thrown into World War II, and although it was not our brightest hour, it was certainly not a good idea to piss us off from the get go.
Japan was not very smart about that, or they under estimated us as a military force? Maybe it is because we frown on killing perfectly good people by using airplanes as bombs like those crazy Kamakzi guys. But hey, maybe it was something else.
So WWII happened. Lots more of our young men died defending those in need across the globe against a mad man, who had some serious mental-health and self-love issues, because he could talk a good game.
That 'War to End All Wars' ended in 1945, and not a moment too soon for those interred in concentration camps across Eastern Europe.
In 1954- only 9 years after WWII ended and a year after the Korean Conflict- cuz I do remember learning in school that it was NOT a war, just a conflict where people got killed... a lot, had been ... er, un-conflicted?
Anyway- 1954 saw the signing of a bill making Veteran's Day a day to honor American veterans of all wars by Dwight Eisenhower, who was himself a great veteran and who said... ( I had to put a quote of his here because he is my favorite president)...
"On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of those who fought so valiantly on the seas, in the air and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain."
Since that proclamation was made 51 years ago many more veterans have arrived on the scene... From the cuban conflict, Operation Desert Storm, Viet Nam, Operation Iraqi Freedom and so many more that I am sure We, The People have no idea ever happened.
For ALL of those Veterans I want to say thank you... and I include those who are left who bear a tatoo identifying them as true veterans of war because, unlike American History books who barely mention the "alleged holocaust" I believe that their lives were endagered, taken and tossed aside without care... and I KNOW that without OUR Veterans of that war, and the many since, history books the world over would be filled with more atrocities than even I can imagine, and let me tell you, I have a really good imagination!
So- Thank You to Marty, Vic, David, Steph, Dad, Uncle Dave, Wink, Mr. Schuyler, Matthew, Smitty, Charlie Cartwright- KIA Afghanistan November 2009, and those whose names I cannot remember and those whose names I have never known... you are ALL to me like family... the family of Man-Kind with the emphasis on KIND.