Honoring those who served
After all that time, suddenly, it was silent.
After war had raged for more than four years, on the battlefields of Europe the quiet must have been eerie.
There at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the survivors must have breathed a sigh of relief.
It was over.
The War to End All Wars, it was called.1
And it wasn’t, of course, not at all.
Still, the toll of its carnage was staggering: more than nine million dead, more than 21 million wounded.2 So many lost that people hoped it would be the last.
So many gone that it gave rise to what today, here in the United States, is called Veterans Day.
And so, today, November 11th — Veterans Day — we pause to thank every man and woman who has ever served this nation, wearing the uniform of its military services. So many of them from my own family.8
Among them, my brothers and sister:
Evan H. Geissler, U.S. Air Force
Diana M. Geissler McKenzie, U.S. Air Force
Frederick M. Geissler, U.S. Army
Warren H. Geissler, U.S. Air Force
William K. Geissler, U.S. Marine Corps
Among my mother’s generation:
Billy R. Cottrell, U.S. Navy
Monte B. Cottrell, U.S. Navy
David F. Cottrell, U.S. Navy and U.S. Army
Jerry L. Cottrell, U.S. Air Force
Michael V. Cottrell, U.S. Air Force
Philip Cottrell, U.S. Marine Corps, 1920-1943
Among what we call the outlaws:
J.C. Barrett, U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force
Miller (Ray) Childress, U.S. Navy
John C. Epps, U.S. Army
Thomas T. Williams, Jr., U.S. Air Force (Reserve)
And those who went before:
Clay R. Cottrell, U.S. Army, World War I
Jesse Fore, fifer, Captain Michael Gaffney’s Company, South Carolina Militia, War of 1812
Elijah Gentry, Private, 1st Regiment, Mississippi Territorial Volunteers, War of 1812
Elijah Gentry Sr., Sergeant, South Carolina Militia, Revolutionary War, and Private, 1st Regiment, Mississippi Territorial Volunteers, War of 1812
David Baker, Corporal, 3d Virginia Regiment, Continental Line, Revolutionary War
William Noel Battles, Private, 10th Virginia Regiment, Continental Line, Revolutionary War
John Pettypool, 1771, Militia, Granville County, NC
William Pettypool, 1701-02, Militia, Charles City County (Va.) Dragoons
Nicholas Gentry, cir 1680, Militia, Mattapony (Va.) Garrison
Image: Chicago Tribune, 11 November 1918, p.1; digital images, Newspapers.com (http://www.newspapers.com/ : accessed 10 Nov 2014).
- See Wikipedia (http://www.wikipedia.com), “The war to end war,” rev. 18 Aug 2014. ↩
- “World War I,” History.com (http://www.history.com : accessed 10 Nov 2014). ↩
- “Armistice Day,” WWPL Blog, posted 11 Nov 2011, Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library & Museum (http://wwplblog.wordpress.com : accessed 10 Nov 2014). ↩
- “AN ACT Making the 11th day of November in each year a legal holiday,” 52 Stat. 351 (13 May 1938). ↩
- “An Act To honor veterans on the 11th day of November of each year, a day dedicated to
world peace,” 68 Stat. 168 (1 Jun 1954). ↩
- “An Act To provide for uniform annual observances of certain legal public holidays on Mondays, and for other purposes,” 82 Stat. 250 ( 27 Jun 1968). ↩
- “An Act To redesignate November 11 of each year as Veterans Day and to make such day a legal public holiday,” 89 Stat. 479 (18 Sep 1975). ↩
- The list would be longer if I included those who wore a particular shade of grey… and, with apologies, I don’t have room in one blog post to even begin to list the cousins, nieces and nephews! ↩