Although it became known as Veterans' Day in the United States after the Second World War, before that November 11 was a day of remembrance for the long-hoped-for end of the Great War. The Armistice specified that the war end at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
Vera Brittain, a British nurse serving in France, wrote of the Armistice:
"When the sound of victorious guns brust over London at 11 a.m. on November 11th, 1918, the men and women who looked incredulously into each other's faces did not cry jubilamtly: 'We've won the War!' They only said: 'The War is over.'"
Brittain's memoir "Testament of Youth" is among the most heartbreaking accounts of the Great War I have ever read.
In Commonwealth countries it is apparently still the custom to observe a moment of silence at 11 a.m. As you think about the veterans of all our wars today, you might have some special thoughts for those whose lives were lost in the Great War also.
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Dale B. Light - 11/12/2005
In my post on the subject I note the tragic dimensions of this holiday. It honored the memory of those who died in "the war to end all wars" and bore witness to the horror of that war for a generation determined that such things must never be allowed to happen again. We all know how that worked out. The initial meaning of Armistice Day is thus an illustration of the futility of good intentions.