So Veterans Day was Sunday, which is also known as Armistice Day. Back in WWI the Allied powers and Germany signed a ceasefire on this day and closed the Western Front, even though Russia, the Austrian-Hungarians, and the Ottomans were still going strong in the East. The US uses it as a day to remember vets from all wars, as do many European nations, especially those involved in WWI and WWII. All over the Western world you will often see both real and faux red poppy flowers, which are acknowledged in the famous poem In Flanders Field as growing on many of the old battlefields of Belgium and are symbolic of the blood spilled there.
Even while I was in the military, I’ve never felt very comfortable with Veterans Day. In the US, we have Memorial Day for honoring the dead, and thus Veterans Day is more about honoring all vets, especially the living. However, being a vet never struck me as being particularly honorable. I mean, in my view, serving in the military is like paying taxes– it’s just something you’re supposed to do. No one thanks you or gives you free stuff for paying your taxes (or they shouldn’t beyond basic government services, anyway). The day just never struck me as important that way. That being said though, there are some vets that read this blog, so thanks to them for keeping the tradition going and picking up the slack for all the peaceniks.