Friday, November 11, 2016
Someone once asked me to describe my favorite part about the Fourth of July.
My answer: It is the one day of the year when there is a peaceful use for gunpowder.
I am an historian. I know and appreciate the fact that gunpowder has been used to defend many of the rights and privileges that I have been blessed with. I watch the battle reenactments where the participants use a small fraction of the gunpowder and ammunition used in the actual event.
And I cringe at the smoke, and the noise, and the chaos and the destruction.
And can't begin to imagine the real event.
And because of the time and place in which I live, I do not have to. But others must.
Here in the United States we are celebrating Veterans' Day. We thank our current and former military members for their service and sacrifice. Please don't confuse this with Memorial Day
In Europe they are marking the 98th anniversary of the Armistice of WWI. Please don't confuse this with a Peace Treaty.
100 years ago this week, we were re-electing Woodrow Wilson because he "kept us out of the war".
April 2, 1917 that same President goes to Congress to ask for a Declaration of War.
For a comprehensive timeline of events in WWI please see this link:
You'll notice quite a few places that are still in our news feeds today.
Armistice Day was when the troops stopped shooting each other, but not when the war was over.
Political Peace would take much longer. Some would argue (myself included) that it never really came.
And here we are. November 11, 2016.
Can we call an Armistice?
It is not a surrender, but a cessation of hostilities. So that talking can get more results than shooting (our guns or our mouths).
But this time let's do it better than 100 years ago. Let's not just talk, but listen.
Let's not send us straight into a political WWII.
I can think of no better way to honor our military veterans, than to be a part of the peacemakers who also help protect the country they defended.
Because political warfare can cause just as much smoke and noise and chaos and destruction as military warfare and is just as hard to heal from.
I have 100 years of history to learn from and I didn't miss the class on that.