Tuesday, November 8, 2016

For Veterans/Armistice Day (11/11/16)

The International observance, known in the U.S. as Veterans Day, began in 1918 with a different name.

Back then, it was known as Armistice Day. According to Wikipedia, "Armistice Day is commemorated every year on November 11 to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany at Compi├Ęgne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at eleven o'clock in the morning—the 'eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month' of 1918. The date was declared a national holiday in many allied nations, and coincides with Remembrance Day and Veterans Day, public holidays."
(To read more about Armistice Day, please follow the link HERE)

In the U.S. the same holiday was given a new name in 1954, that being our Veterans Day (see more HERE), but this is still an International day of observance, regardless of our nation's name change for the same date and time. 

A number of my family members fought for the Allies in WWII. Some barely made it out alive. I like to honor all of our service members, both men and women, along with all medics, nurses, and doctors etc. who've either supported troops or who've been in the thick of combat, whether still living or now lost to us. No matter where in the world this day is being observed, let it be a sign to us as to war's cost in human lives. Let's likewise give some thought to the numerous conscientious objectors who drove ambulances and worked as medics or support staff. Even they risked their lives so that as many people as possible could return home to their families. They, too, even though they didn't choose to do battle, were an essential part of the world's times of war. 

" The World War I draft law recognized the peace churches [the Quakers, Mennonites, Church of the Brethren and Seventh Day Adventists] but prosecuted anyone else who objected on the basis of their own beliefs. Five hundred objectors were court-martialed – 17 received death sentences for refusing to fight. Although none of the death sentences was carried out, almost 150 objectors were jailed for life, and others were harassed and beaten.
Finally, in World War II, the draft law exempted from military service those who "by reason of religious training and belief" opposed war. The objectors still served. They were assigned to "work of national importance." This service fell into two types:
First, about 25,000 objectors served in the military in "noncombatant" roles. They were medics who were in the Army but didn't carry a gun.
Second, those who objected to being in the military served on the home front. About 20,000 objectors fought forest fires, built conservation projects in rural areas, or took care of the mentally ill in hospitals.
There were objectors who refused to even register for the draft, believing that the draft itself was supporting the killing. About 6,000 of these men went to jail."
From an online article at

Let's take the time to honor our veterans of all ages this coming Friday, November 11th. Additionally, in the UK or for those of us elsewhere who are religious, this coming Sunday is known as Remembrance Sunday. (the Sunday closest to the 11th)

The old song title says, "Are We Downhearted? No! No! No!" This was a fairly popular song for some of the troops of WWI. 

According to a Wikipedia article, "Before entering the war, the U.S. had remained neutral, though it had been an important supplier to Great Britain and the other Allied powers. During the war, the U.S. mobilized over 4 million military personnel and suffered 110,000 deaths, including 43,000 due to the influenza pandemic.[1] The war saw a dramatic expansion of the United States government in an effort to harness the war effort and a significant increase in the size of the U.S. Armed Forces. After a relatively slow start in mobilising the economy and labour force, by spring 1918 the nation was poised to play a role in the conflict." 

The World’s Most Famous WAR MEMORIAL POEM
By Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks still bravely singing fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead: Short days ago,
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved: and now we lie
In Flanders fields!

Take up our quarrel with the foe
To you, from failing hands, we throw
The torch: be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die,
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields

Composed at the battlefront on May 3, 1915 
during the second battle of Ypres, Belgium
(found at http://www.flandersfieldsmusic.com/thepoem.html)

Below the Display version, I will add 3 YouTube videos of antique recordings plus one of a very short overview of the history of this very important day.

Let's Honor all our Veterans, including those among our allies this November 11th!

Veterans Day 
WWI Sheet Music Cover

Download HERE

Display version
(lower quality than the download)

YouTube Video about Red Poppies
(British, from 2014)

Song: Are We Downhearted?

The Story of the Unknown Soldier

In Flanders Fields (song with slideshow)

Amazing Grace

From the album, Whales and Nightingales
which may be found at Amazon:

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