Friday, November 11

Armistice Day <-> Veteran's Day

I find myself pondering the difference between the concept of "Armistice Day" and "Veteran's Day" and how the observance of a holiday on November 11th has changed in the past 97 years.

Armistice Day, as the commemoration of the end of the most horrific war the world had yet seen, was a celebration of peace and the end of warfare. Veteran's Day, on the other hand, is a celebration honoring the living veterans who risked their lives to serve their country in war. Two quite different concepts. Both eminently worthy of a national holiday, but I wonder if there was not some subtle shift in our national consciousness with the latter supplanting the former in 1954. Had the visceral revulsion against the then-new concept of war on a massive scale so prevalent in the years following World War I faded in the minds of the public? Had the development of the Cold War in the years following World War II shifted the public's attitude toward war on a global scale?

Veterans of all wars are worthy of far more than a mere day off that so many of us in the civilian world take for granted, but why deliberately overwrite a celebration of peace? Why not celebrate both separately? Neither is more or less worthy than the other. What prompted President Eisenhower and Congress change the holiday celebration November 11th? What purpose did it serve supplanting a celebration of peace with a celebration of soldiers?

No answers here today, just some admittedly-uninformed musing. Anyone out there with a stronger background in history care to enlighten me?

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