“World War I – known at the time as ‘The Great War’ - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of ‘the war to end all wars‘.”
[taken from: www1.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp ]
I was raised on that saying “the war to end all wars”. I can remember being told my father joined the service even though he was on the far side of the age for joining--but he had been told by Uncle Sam that this was the war to end all wars, and if he didn’t want to see his son going to war, then he needed to go himself. And he went. BUT, that was NOT for the “great war“, that was for what became known as WWII--so already that saying had been betrayed.
When the local draft hit our community sending off our young men to Viet Nam, my father was still alive. He felt betrayed by his government and grieved that this war had the possibility of taking one of his sons. After all, hadn’t he fought the “war to end all wars” so his sons wouldn't have to go to war?
I realize there are fewer and fewer of our Veterans alive now from WWII. I have one relative left that was in that war. I have never asked him how he feels about these present wars, or whether he feels betrayed that he’d fought the “war to end all wars” but his son had to serve in the military during Viet Nam.
But every year in August, his army buddies and their families still have their Army Reunion, and they continue to say how proud they are of our young fighting men and women. How proud they are to be in a country where the men and women have never faltered in standing in the gap for their country, for their fellow countrymen and women.
It can be contested whether each involvement was/is the wisest or right way to go. However, there is no contest about the commitment these young people make when they take up arms for all of us here at home, and go fight the good fight. May they always know we stand behind them--that we applaud them--that we will help them in anyway we can, and be here to support their loved ones they leave here in our care while they’re gone.
We salute you today!