Veterans Day (Armistice Day) In Words, Songs, and Videos
(formerly Armistice Day)
On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in the eleventh month, the world
rejoiced and celebrated. After four years of bitter war, an armistice was signed.
The "war to end all wars" was over. November 11, is the anniversary of the
Armistice which was signed in the Forest of Compiegne, France by the Allies
and the Germans in 1918, ending World War I.
In the USA, Veterans Day honoring veterans of all wars replaced Armistice
Day. The Australian and British governments changed the name to
Veterans Day Remembrance Videos
*Remembrance / Veteran's Day
*All is Not Okay
*WWI Armistice - Letters from WWI
The world then finally had enough of the irrational killing spree known as
World War I. Twenty million individual human beings had perished in what
was the largest military conflict the world had yet seen.
World War I convinced much of the world of the insanity of war.
(For a LITTLE SCRAP OF PAPER
Countless Thousands fought and died,
To prove the Allies' Honour
Was their Glory and their Pride.
Whilst the Gallant Fearless Navies
Have swept clear the mighty sea,
Of those foes who were a menace
To their Peace and Liberty.)
Thanks mostly to mutual defense treaties among nations that had no rational
reason to fight each other, what started out as a royal family feud and regional
squabble exploded into a global bloodbath. Serbia was joined by Britain,
France, Belgium, Greece, Romania, Italy, Russia, Portugal, Montenegro,
Japan, Brazil and, eventually, the United States, to fight Austria-Hungary’s
alliance, which included Germany, the Ottoman Empire, and Bulgaria.
This madness was triggered when a Bosnian Serb secessionist assassinated
Archduke Ferdinand of Austria. One act of violence – over one localized
territorial dispute – resulted in the loss of lives, property and liberty of tens of
millions of human beings.
In one battle alone, the Battle of Verdun, the insanity of war was most
apparent. From February to July in 1916, Germans and Frenchmen
slaughtered each other relentlessly because their governments told them to.
Germany "won" after losing 330,000 soldiers to France’s 350,000. It was all
over a worthless piece of land, which, by the end of the battle, was littered with
corpses and with about 1,000 rifle shells per square meter. Neither side gained
any true strategic victory from the battle.
On November 11, 1918, the world had finally had enough of this insanity.
About ten million soldiers and ten million civilians were dead.
The war left behind about nineteen million refugees and nine million orphans.
In recognition of the horrible war and the glorious peace, November 11 would
be known internationally as Armistice Day, a day for remembering the veterans
and war dead from around the world, a day to reflect on the moment that the
killing ended and the two sides called a truce.
America had likewise had enough. After losing 112,000 of their fellow soldiers,
the US troops came home, the US military shrunk, and Americans became utterly
disillusioned with war. Americans, by and large, didn’t want to enter the war in
the first place, and Woodrow Wilson had won in 1916 on a campaign slogan that
he "kept us out of war." More than twenty years after World War I, Americans
reelected Franklin Roosevelt for his third term after he promised not to send
Americans to die in another global conflict.
In the period after World War I, Americans found themselves extremely
disenchanted with war, and, like the rest of the world, they celebrated
Armistice Day as a time to remember veterans and appreciate the blessings
The disastrous effects of World War I continued, however, and US entry had
prolonged the conflict, most likely making the outcome worse. The property
destruction eventually translated into global depression.
(Germany under French Occupation red,
Lost German territory orange)
*Versailles Treaty German Territorial Losses
The brutal treatment of Germany under the egregiously unfair
*Versailles Treaty and German suffering under crushing sanctions and
debt made the country ripe for the rise of Adolph Hitler.
The prolonged war had given Lenin what he needed to establish communism
in Russia. As totalitarianism of different strains began to take root throughout
Europe, Americans looked across the sea and saw the failures of foreign
intervention. World War II would come far too soon, but at least, for the time
being, there was armistice.
And our country’s been at war ever since, with more and
more veterans to observe
Of course, today we must remember the veterans. This was, after all,
a major purpose behind Armistice Day. Ever since the name was changed
to Veterans’ Day, however, America’s servicemen and women have not gotten
more respect: they have only been sent to far off and increasingly numerous
places, to fight battles not in defense of America, but to extend the US empire.
They have become cogs of the permanent US war machine. Upon returning home
from Vietnam, they were called "baby killers" by misguided protestors who blamed
the soldiers for their participation – however unwillingly – in an unjust war.
And as insulting as such disrespect was, it seems to me even worse to send people
to kill and die for nothing.
We live in a time when war is revered and peace downplayed. To fight or even die
for the government is now the greatest, most honorable achievement for an
Soldiers fight wars, we have been told, to secure peace. They fight them there so
they don’t have to here; they fought then so they don’t have to fight now; they
found World War I to "end all wars" in the future.
In the years since the renaming of Armistice Day, we have lost even the pretense
that the United States engages in wars to stave off worse ones in the future.
Although there is still some of this mythology floating around, those in charge
make clear that we will be in an indefinite state of war.
The War on Terrorism has only formalized the unwavering wartime stance of the
US government since the beginning of the Cold War. In between the end of the epic
Cold War and 9/11, our rulers could hardly go a moment without smashing Iraq
with sanctions and bombings, funding foreign military adventures, propping up
dictatorships, bombing Sudan, attacking Serbia, intervening in Haiti, or spraying
chemical poisons on humans and other living things in Latin America.
The War on Terrorism has only made this perpetual war official. The War Party
has its new glorious enterprise to keep us in constant conflict with other peoples
of the world. Undoubtedly, America’s hawks will celebrate Veterans’ Day, but they
will forget about the time when November 11 was a day to remember the warriors
while observing the blessings of peace. Instead, they will use the day to lionize war.
They will forget the lessons of 1918, and will use a day that was meant to reflect on
peace to cheer on more killing and destruction.
We must indeed remember the millions of Americans who have been and
continue to be sent to foreign lands to fight for dubious causes and imperial
crusades. I don’t think the best way is by sending fresh faces into battle and
adding fresh corpses to the graveyards of America’s war dead.
One day, I hope that the last war fought will seem like a distant memory,
and that the veterans who pass away will not be replaced by new ones returning
One day, I hope most Americans will pay respect to the tragic sacrifices of
America’s soldiers of the past by observing the beautiful bedrock of civilization
that is peace.
One day, I hope we can rejoin the world in a celebration of truce.
One day, I hope we honor America’s veterans by restoring the original meaning
of Armistice Day.
*Recent and Selected Thoughts of Anthony Gregory
*World War I Color Photos
*Photos of the Great War
*World War I Album
*Great War Locations
*American War Cemetary in Argonne,France 1919
Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a U.S.
legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially took place on
November 11, 1918. In legislature that was passed in 1938, November 11 was
"dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known
as 'Armistice Day.'" As such, this new legal holiday honored World War I veterans.
At 5 A.M. on Monday, November 11, 1918 the Germans signed the Armistice,
an order was issued for all firing to cease; so the hostilities of the First
World Warended. This day began with the laying down of arms, blowing of
whistles, impromptu parades, closing of places of business. All over the globe
there were many demonstrations; no doubt the world has never before witnessed
In November of 1919, President Woodrow Wilson issued his Armistice
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 nation.
In 1927 Congress issued a resolution requesting President Calvin Coolidge to issue a
After World War II, there were many new veterans who had little or no association
with World War I. The word, "armistice," means simply a truce; therefore as years
passed, the significance of the name of this holiday changed.
Leaders of Veterans' groups decided to try to correct this and make
November 11 the time to honor all who had fought in various American wars,
not just in World War I.
In Emporia, Kansas, on November 11, 1953, instead of an
Armistice Day program, there was a Veterans' Day observance.
Ed Rees, of Emporia, was so impressed that he introduced a bill
into the House to change the name to Veterans' Day.
In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd
U.S. Congress -- at the urging of the veterans service organizations -- amended the Act
of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting the word "Veterans."
With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor
American veterans of all wars.
In 1968, the Uniforms Holiday Bill ensured three-day weekends for federal
employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's
Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. Under this bill,
Veterans Day was moved to the last Monday of October. Many states did not
agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holiday on its original
date. The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much
confusion on Oct. 25, 1971.
Finally on September 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed a law which
returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of Nov. 11,
beginning in 1978. Since then, the Veterans Day holiday has been observed on Nov. 11.
Memorial Day honors service members who died in service to their country or
as a result of injuries incurred during battle. Deceased veterans are also
remembered on Veterans Day but the day is set aside to thank and honor living
veterans who served honorably in the military - in wartime or peacetime.
Veterans Day gives Americans the opportunity to celebrate the bravery
and sacrifice of all U.S. veterans. However, most Americans confuse this
holiday with Memorial Day, reports the Department of Veterans Affairs.
What's more, some Americans don't know why we commemorate our
Veterans on Nov.11. It's imperative that all Americans know the history
of Veterans Day so that we can honor our former service members properly.
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