The picture above shows soldiers of the 64th Infantry Regiment, 7th Infantry Division of the US Army Expeditionary Force in France celebrate at the stroke of the 11th Hour, of the 11th Day of November 1918. This is when the ceasefire armistice went into effect between all of the Allies and the Germans in what was then known as the Great War. They are happy because the survived. For them, the war, with its mustard gas, machine-guns, artillery, and trench warfare was over and it did not claim their mortal vessel.
Today we think of this day as Veterans Day but in 1918 it was Armistice Day. In no less than 70 countries around the world, this day is remembered with somber introspection. Over 37-million lost their lives in that war, including no less than 117,465 Americans.
In fact, the war was so bitter, so ghastly, so abominable, that it led to the Kellogg-Briand Pact ten years later in which in effect, bans all wars. This led, in turn, to the Great War being then known as the “War to End all Wars”.
Although we have lost our last Great War veteran of what we call now World War One, we will still have to mourn new warriors lost in war every year for a foreseeable future.
To them, those hardy Doughboys in 1918, and all those who have fallen and served before and since, we remember.
To the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Coastguardsmen, and Marines of today, we toast.