Since today is Veteran's Day, I thought I would mention that this holiday was originally called Armistice Day. It wasn't intended to glorify patriotism or war. In fact, it was established in 1918 to commemorate the end of WW1, an incredibly horrible time that was touted as a war to end war. Some estimates suggest that twenty million men and women were killed outright or died later from wounds. This number includes my grandfather for whom I received my middle name. The Spanish influenza spread by the troops killed an additional one million people. The use of trench warfare and gas exacted a terrible toll on the battlefield. In the first Battle of the Marne in September 1914, two million men fought and more than 500,000 were killed or wounded. French casualties totalled 250,000, 80,000 of them dead, while British casualties were 13,000, 1,700 of them dead. The Germans suffered 220,000 casualties.
If anyone cares to read an excellent history of the events that led up to World War I, then The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman is a must. Also, a gripping personal account not for the light-hearted of the life of a young German soldier in the war is narrated in the book All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque.
Anyway for those of you who are off of work today because of Veteran's Day, perhaps it is worth a moment to ponder this historical event and consider the issue of man's inhumanity to man.