In reading the title of my blog entry this week history buffs already know where we are headed… the remembrance of that day in 1918 at Compiegne when on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month the Allies and Germany signed the armistice that ended World War I.
If you look up Armistice Day in Wikipedia you’ll read a concise entry that shows how Armistice day, after World War II (and subsequent wars), morphed into Veterans Day and Memorial Day, the former to remember (more/all) veterans and the latter to remember all those who have died in war. Traditionally Armistice Day was celebrated with a two-minute silence at 11am on November 11; the dead were remembered in the first minute and the living (or the survivors) in the second.
As the son of a veteran I’m keen on these remembrances. My father never talked much about his service and most of what I learned about his time as an infantryman in World War II has come from others. My Dad was a POW in Germany and fought in The Battle of the Bulge. I do remember him telling me about his escape from a barn in Germany where he and other soldiers were held captive; it was winter and they escaped by running through miles of snow in bare feet. The story that I’ll never forget came from my Grandfather, my Dad’s step-father, who served at the same time as my Dad did: When the war was over my father’s “last act” was (unofficially) to give the horse he rode to a German farmer for his farm… Armistice.
An armistice is a truce; a coming to peace despite our differences. Perhaps today, at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, we can take two minutes to remember The Armistice and the armistice that God asks of us…
God Bless you and your dad (or his memory) on this Armistice Day. I laud the spirit of reconciliation expressed in your post, something I have tried to advocate in my 21 years with the U.S.-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs. Forgiving your enemy by giving him your horse is a noble gesture.
Terrific! Very moving, including the gift of the horse