Sunday, November 11, 2018

Armistice Day

In 1954, upon the urging of American veteran groups, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day.

While it's right and good to remember our veterans, it's also right and good that we remember the larger event, Armistice Day, when "the war to end all wars" came to an end, at the 11th hour, on the 11th day of the 11th month.

It was a war of fools, as most wars are - blunders into violence, the love of tactics, and the mindless belief that nations can really conquer nations, that might prevails, and "god is on our side." Everyone fought everyone else with chaplains chanting prayers and the leaders of the nations fiercely weaving a bloody tapestry of faith and nation.

When the war ended, with untold millions dead, nothing was resolved - but only from sheer weariness of killing and dying did the combatants lay down their arms, and while the allies were "victorious," they took it upon themselves to punish Germany (and sow the seeds of WW2) and to redraw the boundaries of the Ottoman Empire (sowing the seeds of today's Middle East chaos).

Armistice Day deserves to be remembered with tears and reverence for the millions of soldiers who were ordered to advance by generals far removed from the front. The solider, with friends and family back home, his face covered in mud and his body crawling with vermin, didn't fight for "god and country." They fought to stay alive, and to protect one another. And millions didn't make it, because of the foolhardiness of the nations.

Let's remember our veterans, but let's not make light of their suffering and death by draping their broken bodies with bunting, but covering them with our tears, and a fresh resolve to see the insanity of war, to work mightily to unmask the craven purposes of the arms industry, and give no heed to the mindless babbling of nations who speak of their own greatness.

Let 11.11.11 be our prayer, our purpose, our work every day of our life, until war be no more.

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