Armistice Day (November 11, 2018)

In the early morning hours of November 11, 2018, a treaty was signed on a railway car in Northern France. This treaty was no ordinary treat. It was the Armistice, calling to an end to the “war to end all wars”. Today marks the 100th anniversary of that signing. Cities around the world are celebrating this anniversary.

Though it was not the war to end all wars, the end of The Great War brought much change to the world: a shift in global powers, technology to enter the modern age, some of the greatest artists and writers society has seen, a lost generation, and the never-ending quest to find peace.

Armistice Day France 1918
Victory Parade in Paris with American soldiers. From “In Photos Unpublished for 100 Years, the Joy of War’s End on Armistice Day”, Alexis Clark, NYT, 2018

Though we may or may not live to see the day peace is obtained, we must hold onto hope for that day. We must hold onto our values of life and liberty, equality and justice. We must hope to never see another war like the Great War. History is cyclical. A century after the Great War, we are fighting in the War on Terror. A century before the Great War was the Napoleonic Wars. A century before that the War of Spanish Succession. A century before that the Thirty Years War. Mistakes are made and, unfortunately, repeated. Different times and different enemy, but same mistakes. We must stop the cycle. We must learn from our predecessors’ mistakes in order to find the peace we long for.

Honor your veterans. If you see someone who has served in the military, thank them. Help your veterans. They were lucky to survive and see their tour through. Provide them resources to restart their lives post-tour.

Many weren’t lucky to return. Honor the fallen too.

Learn from the vets. If they are willing to share their story, listen. You can learn a thing or two about the future by listening to the past.

Armistice Day Australia 1918
Victory Parade in Australia. From “Remembrance Day: How Australia celebrated the first Armistice Day 100 years ago”, Lucy Robinson, ABC South East SA

Below are some poets who have written about the war during the war:

May Wedderburn Cannan – “August 1914” (1914)

Alan Seeger – “Champagne, 1914-1915” (1915)

Florence Ripley Mastin – “At the Movies” (1916)

Mary Borden – “The Song of the Mud” (1917)

Margaret Postgate Cole – “The Veteran” (1918)

Siegfried Sassoon – “Repression of War Experience” (1918)

Thomas Hardy – “And There was a Great Calm” (1920, re:Armistice Day, 1918)

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