Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Armistice Day!

On the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month of the year 1918, the so-called "War to End All Wars" came to a close. Four years of bloody conflict, which claimed the lives of nearly 17 million people across multiple fronts, both soldiers and civilians, finally came to a close.

The following year in 1919, both the United Kingdom and the United States, along with many other Allied nations, declared a special day of remembrance of those who had died in one of the worst conflicts in human history. Like many holidays, Armistice Day (now known as "Remembrance Day" in the United Kingdom and nations of the former British Empire -- Canada, Australia, South Africa, and more; and "Veterans Day" in the United States), has evolved a lot over the last 93 years since it was first marked.

In the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and other Commonwealth Nations, Remembrance Day is the day that is now used to honor and remember all of their nation's war dead. One thing that has become associated with Remembrance Day commemorations is the use of poppies, which comes from a reference to a poem about the fighting in Flanders (a region in Belgium) where many fields had been covered in poppies.

In the United States, Armistice Day became Veterans Day in the 1950s after the Korean War, when it was decided to change the holiday from remembering those who'd fallen in World War I, to remembering all U.S. veterans, both living and those who'd fallen in conflict or passed on after they served. The U.S. holiday that is actually more analogous to Remembrance Day, when the U.S. remembers those who've fallen in defense of their country.

Take time today to remember the veterans who've served your country and fought and died to protect the freedoms you enjoy and too often take for granted.

Happy Armistice/Remembrance/Veterans Day!