Just some thoughts and ideas going around in my head while trying to figure out where I am and where everyone else is going.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day

There was no mail today. I had forgotten that today was Veteran’s Day and I guess all the government offices were closed. In Europe this day is known as Remembrance Day, at least in all the English speaking parts, I don’t know what they call it in Germany or France or anywhere else. It used to be called Armistice Day; that was the day that the First World War ended in 1918. The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. It was the end of the war that would end all wars.

When I was growing up, it was the veterans of WWI that were honored foremost amongst all veterans. I guess these old soldiers were in their late 70’s or 80’s then and I thought they were all ancient.

Then I started to wonder about 10 years ago why I never heard any reference to the WWI veterans anymore and now I think I have figured it out. Sometimes I'm not that quick. They are all dead except for a handful. All the Germans, all the French are dead and no has yet to wheel out anyone from the US, Russia or Turkey (the Ottoman Empire) to represent so I don’t know about them. In fact the only person that I have heard of who saw combat and is still living is Henry Allingham from Great Britain and he’s 112 years old.

90 years ago today. 90 years ago and they thought that mankind had finally learned to live in peace together and that nations would no longer need to take up arms against one another. Differences would be discussed and dealt with diplomatically with the League of Nations. Boy, were they wrong.

I wonder what people will be thinking of 90 years from now. Will people be honoring members of the armed forces from Afghanistan and or Iraq? Will any of those vets still be alive to tell their stories, show us their artificial limbs, say why they still can't sleep at night sometimes? Will any of us be around to hear them? Will any of us be able to explain to them why?


  1. There is, I believe, only ONE US veteran of WWI alive today.

  2. @slappz hats off to u
    my grand dad was in ww 2
    pos in vietnam

    hats off to u all

    and curious banks closed too

  3. No_Slappz - Thanks for that bit of knowledge. I guess whoever it is must not want to be bothered or is really too ill be pulled out and placed on a pedestal where he belongs. Because surly someone who could survive this long should be acknowledged for what he has been through.

    Torrance - Since I'm not a business owner, I haven't been inside a bank in over 5 years. Probably why I didn't realize they were shut. As long as the ATM works when I need it, I'm happy. Also, not to sound like John McCain but my thanks to your Grandfather for the service he committed not just to this country but for the world.

  4. curious,

    the last time I read about our only remaining WWI veteran, he was in a nursing home and too frail for public appearances.

    I think he's about 107.

  5. No_Slappz - 107. That means he was just a boy, a teenager still in the war. Immagine what stories he could tell of just living his life if he was still able.

  6. curious,

    I think he enlisted at the minimum age late in the war.

    He's been interviewed, though not for a while, as I recall.

    Anyway, we have no shortage of accounts of WWI or life at that time.


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