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Which Day Did You Celebrate?
By Ernest Stewart
"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations..." ~~~ President Woodrow Wilson
You may recall that World War I officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles -- hence its title. However, fighting had ceased seven months earlier, when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918 is generally regarded as the end of "the war, to end all wars." That worked out well, huh?
In November of 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day. The original concept for the celebration was for a day to celebrate peace.
The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:
Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far-reaching war in human annals, and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, andSeems simple enough, huh?
Then, in 1928, we signed the Kellogg-Briand Pact. "The Kellogg-Briand Pact(or Pact of Paris, officially General Treaty for Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy, is a 1928 international agreement in which signatory states promised not to use war to resolve "disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them". Parties failing to abide by this promise "should be denied of the benefits furnished by this treaty." It was signed by Germany, France, and the United States on August 27, 1928, and by most other nations soon after. Sponsored by France and the U.S., the Pact renounced the use of war and called for the peaceful settlement of disputes. Similar provisions were incorporated into the UN Charter and other treaties; and it became a stepping stone to a more activist American policy. It is named after its authors: United States Secretary of State Frank B. Kellogg and French foreign minister Aristide Briand." So, the US signed a pact vowing never to go to war again; gee that worked out fine, didn't it?
Then along came the Rethuglican takeover of Washington in the 50's (you may recall the witch-hunts?); and Armistice Day a day of peace became Veterans Day -- a celebration of killers. The 83rd Congress, at the urging of the military/industrial complex, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of wars.
Later that same year, on October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first "Veterans Day Proclamation" which stated:
"In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible."Screw you, Ike; I refuse to honor veterans on Armistice Day; instead, I honor peace! How about you, America? So, which did you celebrate, peace or war?
08-05-1957 ~ 11-11-2014
Thanks for the music!
02-02-1952 ~ 11-11-2014
Thanks for the film!
04-26-1947 ~ 11-12-2014
Thanks for the film!
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Until the next time, Peace!
(c) 2014 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and for 13 years was the managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter.