November 11 is honored in the US as Veteran's Day, but as I am fairly fascinated by WWI and have been researching the period for years, I'm taking it back several decades to talk about Armistice Day. I am fascinated by the histories of our wars, and horrified that these things happened, and continue to happen.
Today, at 11:11 a.m. on 11/11, we mark the end of WWI. The treaty negotiated to end the war stipulated that hour, and though many stopped fighting once the treaty was signed, there were shots exchanged, and men killed, up until the minute. I know that the hour was on European time, but I will mark it where I am.
Of course, this is now a day to mark the efforts and sacrifices of everyone who fought and labored in all our wars, good, bad and indifferent (make your own judgements as to which were which. It often depended on where you were standing). And let's not forget the non-combatants.
In WWI, my grandfather was rejected from the army because he had a faulty heart. He nonetheless dropped out of college and served as a chaplain through the YMCA. (This sacrifice of a few years allowed him to return to college just in time to meet my Grandmother, whom he would otherwise never have known...).
In WWII, members of the US Merchant Marine (i.e. sailors on commercial cargo vessels) had casualty rates exceeded only by those of the US Marine Corps. With limited to non-existent ability to shoot back, they braved hostile seas to carry supplies where they were needed.
In every war, people left behind are also making sacrifices, of pieces of their lives, of the lives of their loved ones.
On this day, we can honor them all.
Then we can work to put an end to the wars. After all, Armistice Day was meant to celebrate the end of the War to End All Wars.