Veteranís Day

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Veteranís Day Ė 11 November 2006

When I was younger, 11 November was known as Armistice Day; and in school we recited this poem written on May 3, 1915 by Canadian physician and Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae:

In Flanders Fields
John McCrae
(1872-1918)

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky,
The larks, still bravely singing, fly,
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead; short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe!
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high!
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

On November 11, 1918 the Allied powers and Germany brought World War I to a close with the signing of a cease-fire agreement at Rethondes, France.

The first Armistice Day was proclaimed by President Wilson on November 11, 1919. On June 1, 1954 President Eisenhower signed legislation changing the name of the legal holiday from Armistice Day to Veteranís Day.

In 1968 Congress passed the Monday Holiday Law which established the fourth Monday in October as the new date for the observance of Veteranís Day. The law was to take effect in 1971, but it was so unpopular that in 1978 Veteranís Day reverted to November 11.

Unfortunately, all of this seems to glorify and justify war instead of mourning the horrors of war. If we concentrated more on telling the truth about the misery and suffering caused by wars, maybe we would make a truly concerted effort to find ways to end conflicts and prevent wars from starting in the first place.

 


"Joyful Curmudgeon"
An oxymoron?
No! I see all the beauty of God's creation and I'm joyful.  At the same time, I see all the suffering and corruption going on in the world, and feel called to help expose and end it so that we may have true peace and compassion.

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