11th Hour of the 11th Day

11th Hour of the 11th Day

A Story by David J Rogers
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Short essay on Veterans Day.

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It was as if the world had gone crazy. Young men, the best and brightest, those full of hope, were thrown into a churning machine where many perished as soon as they arrived. Millions of Europe's best hopes expired in the trenches of the battlefield. It was war at its worst. It was dubbed the "war to end all wars". It ended out of exhaustion on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

The European and Asian powers watched with great interest the American war against itself. The world discovered just how terrible one nation could be in a war, in a war against itself. Terrible technologies and tactics were improved. Dogged battles of attrition and supply were fought until the air was filled with black powder smoke like a fog and the ground was wet with the spilt lives of soldiers. Instead of seeing this example of political will expended in the youth of a nation and working to ensure it did not escape to elsewhere, the leaders from both sides were brought to other nations to teach what they had learned.


By the end of the 1800s, Europe had become a land of fenced borders lined with forts and canon pillboxes. The games of politic had so entwined the kingdoms and principalities of Europe and western Asia that one lone assassin shooting an Austrian royal in an open car was enough to push the stacked dominoes that led to a shooting and bloodletting war on a level that had not been seen in the world. Twisty web work of treaties and honor of words sworn were less important than the potential to be the overriding potentate or leader of the new hegemony and the wealth of resource and treasury held by the conquered kingdoms. Greed and the promise of power to subject another people pushed most of Europe's royal houses to fight with each other. The difference this time was the addition of colonial spread of the European powers around the world. As fast as wire and post could deliver the decrees, European military and conscript nations were at war against the other European factions. It was truly a global war. The fighting was most extensive and costly in Europe; more specifically, France and Belgium where lines of fort emplacements were designed as fences to keep out the Prussian-Austrian hegemony. It did not work.


Over 1.5 million men died during the Somme Offensive where waves of European youth ran from trench to trench in a hail of machine gun and mortar fire. From 1914 to the wars ending 17+ million men, women, and children died. At last, Europe and the world had lost its taste for war and death. The world sued for peace. A day was chosen as a mutually agreed upon date and time in which hostilities would stop. It was communicated to all of the troops around the world: the 11th month, the 11th day, on the 11th hour... peace.


From that time forward the "war to end all wars" came to an end and was remembered annually as Armistice Day. A great war of attrition in men, supply, and nations came to an end. So many had seen horror. So many had no skill or tool or way to address or heal those returning from fields of battle. The only thing that was left was to recognize their sacrifice and pray we never again did to succeeding generations what was done to the current generation. But, memories are short.


To the victor goes the spoils and the European powers who still held the reins of power reshaped Europe and the world after their wants, heavily penalized a defeated people for the sins of their kings and generals, and exacted revenges on an already disposed people, thus setting the stage for the next war.


As time passes and other wars are fought, those who survived and those who did not were given days of remembrance for their sacrifices. Fewer refer to November 11th as Armistice Day and recall the atrocities of that war any more. In the United States it has become Veterans Day. In the United Kingdom and the Common Wealth, it is Remembrance Day and observers wear a red poppy on their lapel.


Today in America, it has become a banker's holiday and a lightly populated parade.


One should remember: the survivors of war carry the war and lost comrades with them at all times. Those who served did so at personal sacrifice and in preparation to give, even up to their utmost in service. And some did just that. Most did so out of duty and honor; first to their fellow brothers-in-arms with whom they served, secondly to those they held dear at home, and thirdly to those they knew who could not defend themselves.


Remember this: a veteran did what they did to defend others as occasion required so others they held dear should not be so required. If you see a man or women get angry at the disrespect to the American flag or the nation, they just may be a veteran who gave a higher price to uphold it. If you see a man or woman tear up or cry at the sight of their nation's flag waving as their national anthem is played, it may be they stood on foreign soil for someone else in support of freedom, that song, that flag, and the nation it represents.


We should remember and honor those men and women who selflessly readied themselves to accept hardship, to live sacrifice, and to go into harm's way to ensure freedom and protection for others.


God, bless America, and God, bless our American veterans.


© 2016 David J Rogers



Author's Note

David J Rogers
Remembering our veterans.

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Added on November 11, 2016
Last Updated on November 13, 2016
Tags: america, American veteran, American veterans, American vets, Armistice Day, congress, constitution, dave doc rogers, davedocrogers, doc, Doc Rogers Writes, essay, Essays, Europe, faith, freedom, God

Author

David J Rogers
David J Rogers

Montgomery, AL



About
Artist • Author • Poet • Preacher I am a thinker, ponderer, assayer of thoughts. I have had a penchant for writing since childhood. I prefer "Doc" as an hommage to my grandfather Rob.. more..

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