VETERANS’ DAY / ARMISTICE DAY
Today is “Veteran’s Day” in the United States. In Great Britain, it is referred to as “Armistice Day” or “Remembrance Day” (and “Poppy Day”). In France, the day is “L’armistice de la Première Guerre Mondiale.” The date originally commemorated is the armistice ending hostilities in World War I that was concluded on November 11, 1918. In the United States, our remembrance on this day was later broadened to acknowledge the immeasurable debt of thanks we owe to all of our veterans (my Dad was a waist gunner on a B-17).
As an obsessive military history buff, I have read several histories on the “Great War” (I felt Liddell Hart’s was particularly good). It was truly a cataclysmic horror. In the Battle of the Somme alone, combined casualties exceeded 800,000 (both Allied and German).
When I read about the conditions the soldiers endured in the trenches, I questioned how any of them could have retained their sanity. Thankfully, most did, including C.S. Lewis (British Army), J.R.R Tolkien (British Army), and Ivan D. Margary (British Army). Margary is the British soldier whose exceptional Roman road maps guided my characters in the “The Return of Sir Percival,” in their travels throughout Albion
So today, I shall say a fervent prayer of thanks for all of America’s veterans, and a second prayer for the soldiers who endured the battlefields of World War I.