A SOMBER LOOK AT “VETERAN’S DAY”

(We need to snap out of our collective Happy Trance)

Hurray!   Hurray!   Hurray!

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When I was young  my grandparents and their friends found it hard to start saying “Veterans Day”  on Nov. 11.   For them this day is Armistice Day,  the day that  honors the cessation of hostilities  of the Great War.   It was more than just a vocabulary change.

A case can be made that Armistice Day  marked the final end of the 19th century.    That century began to end noticeably in 1912,  the year the Titanic went down,  to the disbelief and psychic shock of all those who placed their hopes in progress and technology and materialism.

And then soon after came the Great War….Such tragedy, but such possibilities.   This is the “Great War to End All Wars”!!   But as it progressed and came to its  horrifying end, the only thing great was the human tragedy and pain and death and . . . futility,  for nothing, in the end, was solved.        It was shocking and contrary to all reason to think that a century of such “progress”  could end in all the hideous murders of everything humanity held sacred.

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There was the mass homicide of the Great War which began for reasons which the population of Europe and America did not fully understand or nor could they have predicted.

There was the democide by the great socialist revolution in Russia, soon to be followed by subsequent democides that socialism is known for.

There was the genocide in Armenia.

There was theocide,  the life-force of Protestant religions having been dealt a death blow by the great “-isms” of the 19th century:  Darwinism,  Freudianism, the public rise of atheism,  phenominalism,  modernism,  scientism,  progressivism…..  Oh, my!   I don’t have the time to begin to list them, although they are all tentacles of “revolutionism,” depicted by this logo:

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So, a great century was ending and nothing was as it was thought to be.   Technology had been turned against the human race.   Materialism had failed the human spirit.   Scientism and progressivism – the idea that we are more and more solving our problems by our clever technologies and inventions had proved to be greater than we could handle.    Our technological achievements had out-run our moral growth.

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An end!   An end to it all!    But none of the “-isms”   could provide a way out.   So…an “armistice”  was declared.    With the last sigh of dying hope, the nations who fought each other signed a cease fire  on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of the year, 1918).

On a smaller scale,  this was a happy day because soldiers were coming home, families could attempt to rebuild a normal life, and all could use this time of ceasefire to heal.      But many veterans came home like this,  blinded by the chemical warfare and lungs crippled.

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It was an opportunity to look squarely at the cause of such a Great War.   See where we had gone “off the rails.”    Reject the giddiness of progressivism.   Repent and turn back to reality and sanity.

And if not?   We were warned.   “A greater, more terrible war will break out.”   The cease fire will itself cease.

What happened?   What went on in the decades following that first Armistice Day?

The warning…came to pass.

And now we honor – not the cease fire of old –  but we resign ourselves to honoring ALL the veterans who had to die in all the subsequent wars…..And that’s more than just a vocabulary change.

“War is a punishment for sins.”    A true an explanation as any other.   How many more veterans will there be in the future?

 

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Explore posts in the same categories: 2013 Conflicts, American History, Warfare

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