The Great War was a war to end all wars. Honorable notions were thrown up against modern technology and were thoroughly crushed. It was the aftermath of this history-altering war that saw the first dedication to the memories of those who sacrificed themselves and their lives for freedom.
An Eerie Silence
The day is November 11th, 1918, and an eerie silence has rolled over the battlefields of Europe like a thick fog. The distant (and sometimes not so distant) bombardments and continuous "pop! pop! pop!" of gunfire have melted away like a bad dream. If only it was a dream. The true toll of the Great war would not be fully felt for years to come, the loss of cities, of hope, and of over 20 million lives were only the surface level wounds of a crying world.
It was from this scene, the first deep breath of hope after years of war, that Veterans Day was born. For four long years Europe had been gridlocked into a network of fortifications and machines of death. Old and honorable notions of war quickly gave way to the might of new technologies catching millions and millions of young men in the crossfire. Eventually, it was for these men and their families and communities that an Armistice was agreed to by all sides. This armistice was signed and went into effect during the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.
Soldiers celebrating the end of hostilities on armistice day in 1918
A year later in 1919, American President Wilson made November 11th, Armistice Day, a National Holiday with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…" As Memories of The Great War faded in the minds of the people, a day was set aside to remember the heroism and sacrifices made by the millions of brave men and woman who answered their county's call to protect the Freedoms of people around the world.
Today, Armistice Day is known as Veterans day and is dedicated to the memory of not only the brave men and women who sacrificed so much during WW1, but also to the countless other men and women who have sacrificed and are currently sacrificing so much to protect the freedom and the lives of their Nation. To the veterans of WW1, WW2, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, the War in Afghanistan, and to those currently serving, and to those who have yet to make their sacrifices:
Thank You, your bravery will never be forgotten.