The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month 1918. The Armistice between the Allied nations and the Kaiser’s Germany was signed on a train in France. There and at Versailles the groundwork was laid for WWII, but for now it was the end of hostilities in the War to End All Wars.
Armistice Day, the celebration of the end of war, became Veterans’ Day in 1954 when we’d acknowledged that war had not been abolished and many had died in another war which was the greatest mobilization of men and materials in history. And today the tradition of war continues in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This summer we built a little garden to honor my father and his brothers who all served in the Navy during WWII. The fall has taken the leaves from the roses and allowed the weeds to creep in. Perhaps it is fitting that Veteran’s Day occurs in the Fall. The grayness of the day as I left flags next to their plaques seemed appropriate for acknowledging the existence of war in the world and honoring those who have served to protect us. It suited my mood since I miss them very much.
As I drove away from Ilwaco and my garden, KMUN’s “Lost Highway” program was playing “Pray for Peace” by Joe Paquin. “The way it is, is the way it was back then. The way it was is the way it is again.” Perhaps someday we can lay our burden down and study war no more.