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Veterans Day

Veterans Day

Veterans Day

Veterans Day

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11 November 2018

This is a special Veterans Day, marking the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War, the war to end all wars, which turned out to be only the first World War.

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CRB Slide Show. Relief efforts fed 11 million Belgians.

Once upon a time, when we weren't yet counting World Wars and thought one great conflict would put an end to this sort of nonsense, America (for all its isolationism) could see beyond its own borders.

When 10 million Belgians were trapped behind the German lines and their food supplies were requisitioned by the German army, Americans volunteered to go into the German-occupied territory as Commission for Relief in Belgium delegates to guarantee donated food would not be taken from the starving.

They did that from August 1914 until America's entry in the war in May 1917, feeding 11 million Belgians with voluntary food contributions shipped by German submarine blocades and, as the property of the American ambassador, distributed throughout the country.

Bells will be ringing today as they did on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. We will again be celebrating the signing of the Armistice and the end of the Great War.

WWI Crusaders by Jeffrey B. Miller tells the little-known story. The photos above, from the book, detail the efforts the financier Herbert Hoover made to send tons of food to the starving in Europe during the war.

Jasper Pasini. Our grandfather (right) on his way to the front.

Despite inclement weather yesterday which kept one would-be world leader confined to his quarters watching television, there has already been at least one notable commemoration.

In a moving ceremony prior to the commemoration today, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macro warmly embraced at the Compiegne forest site where the armistice was signed.

We were also touched by the NewsHour's story last week by Malcolm Brabant about his own connection to the Great War in For Families of Soldiers Lost in WWI, a Legacy of Sacrifice. He interviews both his mother, who never knew the grandfather whose photo she keeps sacred, and his son, who reflects on the world he has inherited.

We have a story of our own, too.

Our grandfather enlisted in the Army on his arrival in America to fast track his American citizenship. He had plans to bring his fiancee over here and as a citizen marry her to give her American citizenship too.

He didn't realize he'd be sent right back to Italy with the Army, where he was wounded in action. Unlike Brabant's great grandfather, our grandfather survived to bring his fiancee here and start a family. Which, you know, is how we got here.

On Veterans Day we honor every soldier who defended our country. And on this one, we take a moment to remember and tell the stories of those who served in the Great War one hundred years ago.

They have never been forgotten.


Just want to thank you for the link Remembrance Day: 100 Years, 100 Photos which I find very moving and poignant. This year's Armistice Day (as we call Veterans Day) over here has been marked with remarkable and universal acts of remembrance with whole towns being decked out with various installations from poppies to statues, events in schools and old folk's homes.

Our service on Sunday, Nov. 11, at church was thronged and we could not get everyone in. Many of us were particularly proud of our Royal Family who attended various events and truly led us in our marking of the end of World War I and the loss of so many men, women and animals in war since then. (Personally I share the feelings of those both sides of the Atlantic who are offended by Trump's inability to brave some rain; perhaps he should view these images).

Here are just three photos from our service.

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May I also say I am thinking of you all amongst the dreadful fires and pray that you and yours are all well.

-- Andrew-Bede Allsop

Thank you for both the photos and the kind words. We didn't mention it above but we can never pass through the day without remembering Rebecca West's novel The Return of the Soldier, which was also made into a film in 1982 staring Alan Bates, Julie Christie, Ian Holm, Glenda Jackson and Ann-Margret. As West point out long before Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was acknowledged, even for survivors something was lost.

-- Mike

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