As I was driving by the local Oddfellows Cemetery I was reminded that it was Veterans Day. I stooped to admire the amazing scene of so many American flags displayed in the same place. It's a beautiful sight. I'm a veteran of the Vietnam War. When I was a boy November 11th was Armistice Day. The day the guns went silent at the end of World War I at 11 a.m. on that day in1918. It was the war to end all wars. The official surrender of the Germans took place in a rail car near Paris, France. The car was turned into a historical site in memory of the most deadly war in history. It was a humiliating defeat for Germany. The allies extracted a heavy price for the aggression. It sent the "fatherland" into a deep emotional and economic depression. Even before the end of the war,German society especially the military was beginning to crumble in the face of an obvious defeat at the hands of the Allies. A time and place ripe for radical ideas and behavior. A new political party based on militarism was founded and Adolf Hitler used that time of political unrest to whip up nationalistic fervor in the face of such difficult years. When he came to power and later invaded France he personally demanded the government sign the surrender papers in the very rail car used in 1918. After the documents were signed he had the the area around the car destroyed and the car removed and taken to Germany where it was later destroyed and buried by the Waffen SS.Armistice Day has an interesting history. I remember the day each year because men and women would hand out artificial red poppies to passers by. If you wanted to donate money to defray the costs they would gladly accept a donation. The day really didn't have much meaning until I had been in the service and felt proud to have served but coming back from Vietnam didn't make me feel appreciated. This day of honoring men and women who served and made the ultimate sacrifice is even more special as our country is embroiled in a senseless war.
Please click one of the boxes below to make a quick one-word comment.