In 1918 an armistice between Germany and the Allied nations came into effect. This happened on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month (November 11 at 11 A.M.). The next year was the first celebration of Armistice Day. President Wilson proclaimed the day should be “filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory”.
In the years since that day there have been other wars and battles. Some popular and others not so popular. Victories are claimed and debated. Arguments are still made on many details by many people about the many wars and battles. Sadly, there will most likely be more battles and wars in the future with similar results.
Yet, one detail remains true and, in my opinion, can not be argued. Brave men and women, good people with families and love ones fought in those wars and battles. Many, too many, died. They gave what was expected of them. They did what they said they would do and were prepared to go the distance, no matter what that distance was or to what end. And so they did.
In 1954, the veterans service organizations urged Congress to change the word “Armistice” to “Veterans”. Congress approved this change and on June 1, 1954, November 11 became a day to honor all American Veterans where ever and whenever they had served, including peace times. Other laws and efforts have been made to affect changes to Veterans Day. Today, November 11, 2010, is still the day we honor the sacrifices made by all military personnel who served the United States and thank them for doing what they said they would do.
In the USA we honor our Veterans. Those that gave all and those still living with us that were, and still are, prepared to give all. That is as it should be. Let us also take a minute to remember those on the other side. Call them enemies or what you will, but they gave for what they believed in as well. That they were on the “other side” does not diminish this.
War does not decide who is right or wrong. It does not decide who or what is good or bad. War does not make heroes or bravery. There is no distinction of sides. Those that served are brave and heroes because they served.
Honor today those that served. Remember them and thank them. And remember that War is a thing to be avoided if possible, fought if necessary. Nothing more, nothing less.