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Never Forget

November 12, 2018

Flags should be up by 8:00AM on Monday.

Not Sunday?

Well, it’s observed on Monday.

But, it’s really on Sunday.

Our boys put up flags on Sunday. It was Sunday November 11th, 2018. A significant date. Some would say a monumental date. We place special emphasis on anniversaries ending in a zero: Extra emphasis on an anniversary ending in two zeros.

November 11 is the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, the official end of The Great War, The War To End All Wars. It didn’t, of course. within a generation, the world was again thrown into global conflict.

But, on that day, at 11:11Am, the world was finally at peace. The War (it wouldn’t gain the distinction of “1” until years later,) cost ten million military dead. Probably three or four times that many civilian casualties. The War lasted four years, although the fighting in Turkey predated the 1914 start by another four years.

The United States joined The War late, fighting in the last 18 months of the confict. By then it had committed 1.5 million men to the fight with 2 million more training and ready to join. It tipped the balance for the Entente Powers, or Allies.

Twelve countries commemorate the signing of the Armistice. In Canada they have Rememberance Day. In the United States, it’s Veterans Day. Great Britain also has Remembrance Day. France celebrates Armistice Day, as does Belgium. New Zealand and Australia celebrate Anzac Day on April 25. It commemorates the soldiers lost at Gallipoli, and those who died in World War II. In Germany they celebrate Volkstrauertag. Italy honors it’s WWI soldiers on November 4. The Netherlands celebrate Veteranendag in June to honor their veterans. Nigeria was part of the British Commonwealth during the Great War and celebrated Rememberance Day on November 11. Sweden honors their soldiers on a day in May. Norway honors it’s soldier on Veterandagen in May.

I find myself in a sort of doughnut hole of military service. My father was a veteran, although a reluctant soldier. My brother served for years in the National Guard and Reserves. He was a “redlegs,” a captain in the artillery. My daughter is a second lieutenant in the Army. She’s in the last years of grad school studying to become a veterinarian. I spent one semester with the ROTC cadets at BYU, but chose a career in computers over a military career.

I sometimes wonder how my life would be different had I chosen differently. I’m grateful that others made the choice that I didn’t make. That they paid the sacrifices that I didn’t pay. Veterans, deserve our thanks at all times. I’m grateful we have a specific day to honor them.

As long as armed men need to stand ready to defend their homes and families we will #NeverForget.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2018 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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