Once again, another Veterans Day has passed. Veterans Day began as “Armistice Day” on November 11, 1919, which is when the fighting stopped at the end of World War I. Today’s generation may not know that World War I ended at the “11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month” of 1918, when the armistice signed between the World War I Allies and Germany went into effect. The date eventually came to be known as “Remembrance Day” and “Veterans Day.” One of my father’s journals alludes to an event that took place with a strange synchronicity to this significant moment in time:
An odd little jest of fate occurred today. One of my friends, 2nd Lt.
Robert G. Donley, was buried in Henri Chapelle Cemetery #1 at exactly
1100, 11 November 1944. Twenty-six years to the minute, since the
signing of the armistice of the last war! The bitter irony of war.
The personal experience related by my father brings into close perspective the tragic reality of war and speaks to the enormous sacrifices made by all U.S. military veterans. Furthermore, it illuminates the reasons why we continue to honor our veterans and celebrate Veterans Day.