As the United States commemorates Veterans Day, the peoples of the United Kingdom and the nations of the Commonwealth keep Remembrance Day. Wherever this day may find us, and on whichever side of the Atlantic, we all join the various affected nations of a once war-torn Europe in pausing to remember that great moment of the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, which at long last brought armistice and peace — a peace however tenuous and precarious — and which brought with it a very great joy to those who had known unspeakable sorrows.
Let us pause today to remember, with thankfulness, all those who have served — for they did so in order that peoples suffering through a time of war could find again peace and freedom. Let us also pause to remember all those who suffered and died in what was called “the war to end all wars.” Sadly, as we know all too well, it wasn’t.
In speaking of “The Great War,” all who fought in it are now part of humanity’s history; they are no longer in our midst, even if they themselves survived and went on to live the longest of lives. Rare indeed is the person still with us who has living memories of that struggle on the European Continent and beyond, the centenary of which we are living and keeping in these very years.
Today it is now for us, the living, to keep alive the flame of gratitude and of remembrance for those who served, and especially those who died, so that others might be free.