On November 11th, Veteran's Day, we honor those who served, or currently serve, in our nation's military. And it's good to remember the origins of this day. The image above is the front page of the Lowell Sun on November 11, 1918. At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, World War One ended. A war that left 9 million soldiers dead, 21 million soldiers wounded, and at least 5 million civilians dead from disease, starvation, or exposure.
After all this devastation, November 11 became Armistice Day (armistice = truce). Here's the resolution passed by Congress on June 4, 1926:
Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and
Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.
So Armistice Day was originally a day to perpetuate peace, good will and mutual understanding between nations! Am I saying that we shouldn't honor our veterans on Veteran's Day? Absolutely not! I AM saying that as people who follow Jesus, the Prince of Peace, we can both honor our veterans, AND seek "mutual understanding between nations." To me, it's unfortunate that the original intent of the day became clouded by nationalism, when it was intended to be a day to promote peace among all people.
So may we all take a moment to remember those who have served our country, and then may we advocate for their health care and support (about 22 veterans currently die by suicide every day; about 1/3 of all homeless men are veterans), and may we advocate for peace, understanding, good will and compassion for ALL people!