Tuesday November 11, 2014
This day commemorates both Veterans Day in the US and Armistice Day abroad, marking the end of the First World War, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 1918. This year of 2014 is particularly poignant as it also commemorates the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI.
Originally, Armistice Day was celebrated in the US, as an homage to peace and solidarity with the nations of the world who paid a terrible price in WWI, including 116,576 Americans who died. In 1954, the day became Veterans Day in the US.
In Europe, the centennial of the four-year period of the First World War, 1914-1918, is being observed with solemn ceremony, remembering the bravery and courage of 10 million soldiers and nearly 7 million civilians who perished. One million people died in a series of battles across the River Somme, France, in just four months.
Remembered, too, are the failures and foibles of the leaders of governments who precipitated the war, a "march of folly" well-chronicled by historian Barbara Tuchman in the Guns of August.
While Armistice Day signals a renewed interest in Europe in the practicality of peace and reconciliation and unity, here at home we observe Veterans Day still riveted to the narrative of deep fear derived from September 11, 2001.