Armistice Day

What Rump said.

I would only add that the holiday originated as a celebration of peace and a remembrance of the dead, the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month when the nations of the world all laid down their arms, to never again engage in another war.

As the NYT puts it in an eloquent editorial today:

It is now 90 years since the guns stopped firing on the morning that ended World War I, the war that was supposed to end all wars. Nov. 11 is still remembered in Europe as Armistice Day. But in the United States, Armistice Day became Veterans Day in 1954.

It is fitting to celebrate all military veterans. The renaming also is one reason why so many Americans know so little about that first horrifying world war. So is the passage of time. We are nearly as far now from the end of the Vietnam War as the year 1954 was from the end of World War I.

Ask anyone what really caused the First World War and you are likely to draw a blank — at best, perhaps, a tale of an Austrian archduke shot in his car in Sarajevo in June 1914. There are images, too, from movies and books of the horrors of trench warfare, the colossal waste of human life in one catastrophic, peristaltic battle after another. In parts of Europe, there also is a social and genetic memory of the war, caused by the loss of a generation of young men who left no heirs and had no bearing on the world that succeeded them.

What we are likely to have forgotten is the horror the Great War stirred in those who witnessed it. For many, the full horror dawned slowly, as they clung to a comfortable self-insulation. As Vera Brittain wrote in her memoir, “Testament of Youth,” we would “never be at the mercy of Providence if only we understood that we ourselves are Providence.” That is a hard truth to take in. She struggled with the things we still struggle with, especially ridding herself of the feeling that “what was going on outside our homes didn’t matter to us.”

To seek peace, to oppose war, to cherish memory is a way to honor veterans on this day of armistice, this Veterans Day.