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November 11, 2014

It Used to Be Called Armistice Day.

Los-Angeles

“All the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.

~ Kurt Vonnegut

 

A history lesson.

Armistice Day was first celebrated at the close of the First World War—the war everyone thought was the worst that could ever happen.

It marked the armistice signed between the allies and Germany, in France, for the end of hostilities on the Western Front, which they say took effect at eleven o’clock in the morning—the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918.

A holiday to celebrate the end of war. It’s hard to imagine.

In a lot of places, they still celebrate it. But most of us in the United States don’t even know about it, excluding those who were alive to remember it, of course.

Armistice Day was never officially canceled. Technically, you could say November 11th is still Armistice Day—a day for reflection, a day to celebrate the end of war.

In 1954, Armistice Day was overshadowed. Veteran’s Day was declared a federal holiday.

It’s great that we have two holidays to celebrate Veterans in the United States: Memorial Day for the ones who have passed away; Veterans Day for the ones who have not.

Veterans are a big deal in this country. I respect soldiers who risk their lives, I really do.

I wouldn’t suggest getting rid of Veteran’s Day, but I do wonder if we could have a day to celebrate peace, too.

I don’t want to get political, but I will say this: Congress gets the day off for Veterans Day.

Maybe they could appreciate veterans and increase their benefits? Maybe increase the VA budget so they aren’t waiting so long for healthcare? How about not sending them to wars if we can’t take care of them effectively when they get back?

To me, talking about Veterans Day is a little like slack-tivism. It’s easy to say, “Thank you for your service.” But why isn’t electing leaders who want to actually do something to help veterans a priority?

I don’t want to get to political, but it seems like Bernie Sanders, the independent Senator from Vermont, is the only political official who has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of veterans.

For the most part, politicians, like the American people, spend a lot of time talking about how much they respect veterans and not a lot of time doing much.

Anyway, I submit that we should have a federal holiday to celebrate peace. Why not? How about moving Armistice day to the 10th and having two days off in a row?

I hope everyone has a wonderful Armistice Day and Veterans Day!

 

 

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Author: Daniel Scharpenburg

Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Reddit

 

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