Later this week we will celebrate two events that will keep many dive bars across the nation packed till 2am. First, the most infamous military birthday, the Marine Corps Birthday falls on this saturday Nov. 10th. This birthday is easily the most celebrated of any entity of the Department of Defense….and probably the whole government. The origin story goes all the way back to Tun’s Tavern of Philadelphia in 1775 (unfortunately it is no longer there today).
The following day brings the centennial celebration of Armistice day, which later transitioned in the United States to Veterans Day. The origins of Armistice day are rooted in the final agreement between the Allies and the Axis powers in formal cease fire ending WW1. On November 11th, 1918, the cessation of combat began the celebration around the world as “the war to end all wars” formally concluded. This year, special celebrations are being prepared across Europe.
President Woodrow Wilson established the first Armistice day the following year in 1919. Years later, the day would come to include the idea of representing all veterans of the United States. Eventually, the day was given designation as a federal holiday, and hence we celebrate the day off annually.
Every year we are reminded to thank veterans for their service, and ceremonies that recognize veterans at public sporting events across the nation. Although all of these events and gratitude is greatly appreciated and honored, I have a little different of a perspective of honoring veterans day this year.
With the centennial celebration of the original armistice day, it is sad to say that most of events of WW1 are no longer memories. Sadly, because of time, the events of this major event in American and World history has transformed from a recollection to a reflection. Unfortunately, this is a fact that indefinitely can not be change. People witness or participate in events, people get older and pass…and their individual experience gets passed on through documentation. This is the current situation with WW1 and the armistice day that we will all commemorate this sunday.
As sad as that is, I mention this perspective for a reason…we have lost that connection with this event in history. Fortunately, we have veterans of WW2 that are living among us and can personally reflect on that experience. When I first moved to the neighborhood I lived in through middle school and high school, my neighbor across the street from me was a member of the merchant marines during WW2. He would tell me stories of the times they narrowly avoided german U-boat detection while crossing the Atlantic. Sadly, he passed a number of years ago and his wife was forced to move in with the little family they had left.
This veterans day, make sure to think about the few veterans that we have left from the “Greatest Generation”. If you have the ability, sit and talk with some of the veterans and non-veterans that lived through such a time of global turmoil. We are convinced that the world is a horrible place now, but nothing today even closely compares to the carnage seen globally from 1939-1945.
This veterans day, simply think of some of the veterans that we may not have for much longer. For once they are gone, American society can longer recollect of this time…but simply reflect on it.
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