November 11: Armistice Day

Before it morphed into a national glorification day for all things military, it was called Armistice Day.  It was codified into law by Congress as a day to commemorate the end of World War I, to honor the fallen, and to rededicate ourselves to global peace. Not war.  Not global hegemony, but peace.  The war had been touted as the ‘war to end all wars,’ so the only proper commemoration is to honor peace.

I’m not ashamed of my military service. I served with honor and after six years, was honorably discharged.  However, I am particularly proud of having learned from the experience of war to make a conscious choice to work for peace. Just as President Wilson did when he proposed The League of Nations and founded Armistice Day.  In the words of another US president:  “I hate war as only a soldier who has lived it can, as only one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.”  General Dwight Eisenhower, Commander of all allied forces in WWII, European Theater.

Being a veteran can be complicated.  We are often tossed about by conflicting feelings.  One impulse, however, endures.  It is our sense of duty, our purpose, and idealism.  We might not always agree on what that means, but we are bonded by it to the body politic.  It is no coincidence that the majority of our current E-board is comprised of veterans.

Maybe it was just as well that President Draft-Dodger didn’t visit the graveyard at Belleau Woods, as there is no way he could bring honor to the Marines who are buried there.  My family volunteered to serve in every war this country has ever fought from the Revolutionary War to Afghanistan and Iraq, and I don’t respect that chicken-hawk enough to accept his honors.  But it is a national disgrace, notwithstanding.  He sits at the desk of Abraham Lincoln and that is another national disgrace, one which I hope we can rectify soon.

Peace, Michael

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