On the Planet of Wounded Souls, the human race knows more about war than it does about living in peace.
The War to End All Wars officially ended at 11 AM on 11/11/1918 -- 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. Although the federal holiday for Veteran's Day was declared, in 1971, to be the second Monday in November, most Americans recognize November 11 as the day of observance, often holding ceremonies at 11:00 AM in the morning.
Both of my grandfathers were conscripted into the U.S. 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 U.S. 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 (1966-68) during what was referred to as the Vietnam Conflict and served two years at Third U.S. Army Headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, as a computer 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, but if it helps to preserve freedom it's worth the sacrifice.
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
Iraq War (2003-2010) -- 4,404 dead
Afghanistan War (2001-????) -- 4,683 dead
America has had a long, bloody history. The present war in Afghanistan is the longest war in U.S. history, and still on-going. 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, often including confiscation of business and private property, suppression of human rights, personal enrichment, favoritism, personal religious agenda and so forth. The most vicious of these human maggots are eager to exterminate others based on race, religion, social status, territorial expansion, etc. Such evil must be stopped whatever the cost, both foreign and domestic.
This world is also populated by those who profit and prosper from war, such as international bankers, national governments, equipment manufacturers, intelligence agencies, etc. In addition, those who seek a one-world government perpetuate global conflict as a means to achieve their goal of global domination. We must always be cautious about marching off to war because of the secret manipulations of powerful elitists who lust for riches and control. Rich old men wage war behind the scenes, the poor die on the front line.
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.
On 11/11, spend a moment of silence to honor those who have sacrificed for your freedom.
And make damn sure the next war is the last resort for a just cause. War is hideous -- we must not grow fond of it.
Quote for the Day -- "War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse." John Stuart Mill
Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and where the best weapon against an enemy is another enemy. His blogs appear on several websites, including www.myspace.com/bret1111