I know that for Americans, this is Veterans Day, a time to commemorate all the living veterans of military service. For most of the rest of the world, however (and for me, too), it’s Armistice Day. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, the guns fell silent on the Western Front, and World War I was over. Since then, all around the globe, Armistice Day (also called Remembrance Day) has been a time to celebrate those who died fighting in wars, past and present.
Having seen my fair share of time “up at the sharp end”, you’ll understand that for me, Armistice Day is a sharp, painful reality, something that Veterans Day simply can’t approach in solemnity and majesty. I’ve written about my fallen comrades (see, for example, here and here), and today I remember them, and pray for their souls.
My sincere and heartfelt thanks to all veterans of US military service. As a veteran of a foreign military service, who fought the same enemies as you for most of the Cold War, I stand with you this Veterans Day.
To my friends who died in war, on this Remembrance Day . . . sleep well, buddies. Keep the beer on ice for me. I’ll be along in due course.