Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In Remembrance

"And I can't help but wonder, no Willie McBride,
Do all those who lie here know why they died?
Did you really believe them when they told you "The Cause?"
Did you really believe that this war would end wars?

Well the suffering, the sorrow, the glory, the shame
The killing, the dying, it was all done in vain,
For Willie McBride, it all happened again,
And again, and again, and again, and again."

On this day, Armistice Day, we honor fallen warriors. We honor the blood sacrifice that millions of men, women and children made during "The Great War" - also known as "The War to End All Wars". This day was created as a day of remembrance in the US by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919, and then extended permanently by an Act of Congress in 1938 as "a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day'."

In 1954, Congress amended the Act, replacing "Armistice" with Veterans - to honor all Veterans of all wars. And in the US today, we honor those who chose to serve and die in the wars of several generations: World Wars 1 and 2, Korea, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Afghanistan, Iraq...

And today in Paris, for the very first time since that Armistice in 1918, the leaders of France and Germany came together to honor the moment the guns were silenced - to lay wreaths for the dead, to mourn the horror and destruction their two countries shared, "to jointly commemorate the suffering and to honor the memory of the combatants and celebrate the peace of which they dreamed at the bottom of their trenches."

As German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “I know that what has gone before cannot be erased. But there is a power, a power which helps us and which can help us bear what has passed: reconciliation.”

Let there be Peace on Earth!