Sunday, November 11, 2018, is the 100th anniversary of World War I.
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 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, training pilots.
In the spring of 1966, I was conscripted (drafted) into the U.S. Army during what was referred to as the Vietnam Conflict. They never did call it a war – apparently, they didn’t want to alarm the civilians.
I was a 21-year-old computer programmer in Minneapolis, Minnesota. My options were to serve honorably for two full years or suffer the consequences. Thus, I served my military obligation at Third Army Headquarters at Ft. MacPherson 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. But if the noble effort of those called to duty 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
• 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 – “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” Albert Einstein
Bret Burquest is the author of 12 books. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a few dogs and where freedom is never free.