The 90th anniversary of the end of what was called by some "The Great War". Only 10 of her veterans survive. Their memories of the horrors of the hamburger-grinder that consumed not only 3 generations of so many families will soon be relegated to the pages of books and the oral histories they have recorded, and they will join those whom they knew so very long ago.
I heard last fall of a book being written by a woman in Britain who had found her grandmother's journals and realized that her grandmother had lost her grandfather, her father and his brothers, her own brothers, all of her cousins and all of her 2nd cousins. The maelstrom created by modern weaponry combined with century old tactics sucked down the lifeblood of all the families in all the countries that were touched by it without regard!
When I first started reading history many years ago I was amazed to hear this conflict called not only "the Great War", but by another name even more confusing to my young mind.
"The War to End All Wars"!
Surely, if such a war had been fought then man wouldn't desecrate the service of those who died in it by shedding even more blood!
Yet, later that year in my 7th grade history class, while even more lives were being fed into yet another conflict in Southeast Asia, our teacher pointed out that since the "War to End All Wars" there had been over 500 wars fought in various parts of the world!
I am sure that now, these 41 years later, that number is probably over 1,000!
So tomorrow, on what is "Veteran's Day" here in the U.S., instead of reflecting on my own service and that of my wife as I am prone to do, instead of mourning "my" ship upon her passage into "the mothball fleet", I plan to spend some time thinking of those who gave their lives so long ago in the noble thought that no one would ever have to do so again!
Tomorrow, if you can, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, please take a moment and remember these survivors of that terrible war; those who fought and died; and those who were forever changed by it!