By Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
Tomorrow is Veterans Day. The day when we honor all of our nation’s veterans for their service and their sacrifice.
But the holiday started as Armistice Day – the November 11 date commemorating the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, when WWI ended.
President Dwight Eisenhower changed the name of the holiday in 1954, at the urging of veteran’s groups, to honor the men and women who served in all of America’s conflicts. Since then, we’ve celebrated it as Veterans Day. But this year it’s worth remembering the origin of the holiday.
When WWI ended, the thought was that it had been so horrific, so deadly, that it would be “the war to end all wars.” Unfortunately, that was not correct, and within 20 years Germany would lead Europe and the United States back into war. Whether or not the Allied governments were indirectly responsible for that through the strict reparations demanded of Germany, and the restrictions placed on them, is a matter for historians to debate. The historical fact is that we went to war again, and once again our young men and women answered the call. Many of them didn’t know at the time they were being called to combat one of the greatest evils mankind would ever see. They didn’t know what they would encounter when they liberated the German concentration camps. But they answered the call, and they shouldered the burden.
America’s men and women have continued to do so, and they all deserve our recognition, our respect, and the assistance they’ve earned when they return home.
The reason the Armistice Day origin seems especially poignant is that this year we have veterans returning once again from the end of a long, exhausting conflict. Our longest ongoing conflict, in fact. The end of conflict has come once again, and with it hopes for a period of peace.
The armistice that ended the “war to end all wars” obviously didn’t end all wars. They’ve continued steadily. But the first world war helped define and set the role America would play on the world stage for the next 100 years, and set American expectations for peace, and for what we were willing to fight for.
So, on this Veteran’s Day, let’s take a look back at some of the content from the Carter County Herald honoring those young men who, more than a century ago, answered the call to service without hesitation, and give a hearty “thank you” to all of our region’s veterans.
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