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The War To End All WarsPosted Sunday, November 9, 2008, at 7:20 PM
The war to end all wars officially ended at 11:00 o'clock on the morning of November 11, 1918 -- the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.
It would later be called World War I.
The following year, November 11 was set aside in the United States as Armistice Day, in memory of those who participated in World War I in order to ensure a lasting peace.
In 1938, Armistice Day became a federal holiday.
The following year, World War II erupted.
In 1953, Armistice Day was changed to Veteran's Day as a gesture meant to honor all of those who served their country in war and peace.
In 1971, the second Monday in November was declared to be the official federal holiday for Veteran's Day. However, most Americans recognize November 11 as the day of observance, often holding ceremonies at 11:00 in the morning.
Both of my grandfathers were conscripted into the US Army during World War I. One of them served as a cook at an Army base in New Jersey and the other served as a clerk in Illinois.
My father was conscripted into the US Army during World War II. He started as a private and was mustered out as a first lieutenant after spending four years at various Army Air Force bases as a flight instructor.
I was drafted into the US Army during what was referred to as the Vietnam Conflict and served two years at Third Army Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, as a data processing analyst.
None of the men in my family enlisted voluntarily, but we all served honorably and went back to our civilian occupations after we were discharged. Ironically, none of us ever left the states to participate in the action either.
Men and women who join the Armed Forces know the risks when they enlist. Many of them make it a career. But those who are called to duty through the civilian draft make a much bigger sacrifice. Their young lives are interrupted for an extensive period of time, always in the most perilous of circumstances. Not all will survive.
It's difficult to put a value on several years of the prime of your life. If the noble effort of those called to duty helps to preserve freedom, it's worth the sacrifice. But if the cause is not righteous, it's an abomination.
The following list reflects the number of Americans who gave their lives for their country.
American Revolution (1775-1783) -- 4,435 dead
War of 1812 (1812-1815) -- 2,260 dead
Mexican War (1846-1848) -- 13,283 dead
Civil War (1861-1865) -- 558,052 dead
Spanish American War (1898) -- 2,446 dead
World War I (1914-1918) -- 116,708 dead
World War II (1939-1945) -- 407,316 dead
Korean Police Action (1950-1953) -- 33,651 dead
Vietnam Conflict (1957-1975) -- 58,168 dead
Gulf War (1991) -- 293 dead
War on Terrorism (2001-????) -- in progress
America has had a long, bloody history. Far too many souls have perished in the quest to preserve life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Unfortunately, the world is populated by a small percentage of self-centered people who thirst for power in order to impose their will on others. Some of those who manage to bully their way to the top have malicious agendas, such as ethnic cleansing, suppression of human rights, confiscation of property, and so forth. The most vicious of these human maggots are willing to exterminate others based on race, religion, social status, etc. Such evil must be stopped whatever the cost.
Perhaps someday the human race will reach a higher plane of collective consciousness and rise above such foolishness as war.
Until then, the war to end all wars has yet to be fought.
Quote for the Day -- "The belief in the possibility of a short decisive war appears to be one of the most ancient and dangerous of human illusions." Robert Lynd
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Bret Burquest is a former award-winning columnist for The News (2001-2007) and author of four novels. He has lived in Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, Kansas City, Memphis and the middle of the Arizona desert. After a life of blood, sweat and tears in big cities, he has finally found peace in northern Arkansas where he grows tomatoes, watches sunsets and occasionally shares the Secrets of the Universe (and beyond) with the rest of the world.