On War and Remembrance
Today, November 11th, 2023, marks 105 years since the end of World War I.
The Great War, or the “war to end all wars,” as it was known at the time, ended at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918. 11/11/1918.
Armistice Day. Remembrance Day. Or, as we now know it in the United States, Veterans Day.
A day that was initially chosen to serve as a day of remembrance for World War I is now a federal holiday to recognize the military veterans of the United States Armed Forces. It’s a day when we thank the fearless men and women who have risked their lives—or are currently risking their lives—in the service of their country.
This is an important day in our country’s history, but I think we’ve forgotten the symbolism of November 11th. As time goes on, I think we fall into the temptation of treating it as “just another public holiday,” and we risk forgetting why November 11th should be remembered and honored.
World War I is not as appealing to the modern student as its successor, World War II. After all, World War II occurred on a grander scale, pitting the pure evil of the Nazi regime against the heroism and bravery of the Allied forces.
World War I was never so black and white, but there is no denying the pure horror of the war. The line between good and evil blurred; most men didn’t even fully understand what they were fighting for. Territorial disputes and the assassination of a monarch led to a vast global conflict that ultimately resulted in 18 million deaths and 41 million casualties from 1914–1918.
It was a gory, brutal war, one in which antiquated military tactics clashed with modern machinery and weapons. Long gone were the days of muskets and cannons; machine guns, chlorine and mustard gas, airplanes, and tanks entered the battlefield during the First World War.
But why is November 11th so important?
November 11th was the agreed-upon armistice, the day when German troops officially surrendered and war ended.
It was the day when the “war to end all wars” came to a close. It was a day that symbolized everlasting peace on…