11 . 11 . 2013
We all know what day it is today; November the 11th, 2013. What we should all remember is that today is Veteran’s Day, Remembrance Day, Poppy Day, or Armistice Day. On this day in 1918, at 11:00 am, an armistice was signed ending hostilities in World War I. Everyone thought that would be the last war, the ‘war to end all wars.’ It is an everlasting pity, and perhaps a comment of the human condition that they were wrong.
Today would be dedicated to remembering World War One veterans in Commonwealth Nations, though other countries use it to remember all veterans, but that the last living veteran of World War I, Florence Green of Great Britain, died on February 4th, 2012. None yet remain of the soldiers of that ‘last war.’
Typically one would recite Lt. Col. John McCrae’s poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ today, which is why it is called Poppy Day in some countries, but doubtless you’ve all heard it. Instead I will leave you with the words carved outside the cemetery on Iwo Jima, and immortalized in stained glass in one of Oxford’s oldest churches:
When you go home,
There is no higher honor than to be the bearer of the torch those who have fought for freedom have passed down, there is no greater sacrifice than to have given everything.
So go, remember; and never, never, break that most sacred of faiths with our honored dead.