Monday, November 10, 2014

Veterans' Day - 100 years later

11/11/1918 - Armistice Day and the end of World War I, the "war to end all wars."  It started 100 years ago.  

It was horrible beyond imagining:  16 million dead, 20 million wounded.  There had never been such slaughter.  As logical as it was at the time that such inhumanity would shock the world into a state of mind that such a thing would never happen again, it happened again, only more so.

It spawned World War II, it went beyond the imagination again:  over 60 million deaths.  And the world war continued as well into the Cold War between the United States and NATO against Russia's USSR.  

The Cold War had proxy wars between the capitalist democracies and the communists, but the slaughters never approached WWI and WWII.  Thank goodness, and perhaps thank the most horrible weapon every devised, the nuclear bomb, for really making total war something unthinkable.

And now we have the religious wars of the Muslim faiths that the United States and the rest of the world are trying to protect itself from and stay out of as best as possible.  

So, to me, Veterans' Day, which started out as Armistice Day when I was a boy, is certainly a time to honor those who have fought under the United States flag for the last hundred years, and beyond.  

But more to the point for me, it is about honoring their sacrifices by honoring the dreams that were in their hearts, and I can't believe that their hearts had any longing more profound than the longing for the end of war, for peace.

So, for me, Veterans' Day is a day of hoping for and envisioning peace.  Actual peace amongst the multitude of religions, ideologies, tribes, and peoples.  As a troubled man once said, "Can we all get along?"