100 years since

A moment of silence is observed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month because that is when the guns went silent for the armistice that ended World War I, one hundred years ago today.

This day is Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, Veterans Day. The silence should resound throughout the countries who observe it under those different names, as we recall the sacrifice of those who fought on our behalf.

How could we forget? Easily. We might neglect this history in our primary schools. We might create a university system dedicated to recasting those heroes who rose to meet challenges of personal and cultural annihilation as, at best, quaint throwbacks to an unenlightened age or, at worst, dupes of a “system of power, privilege, and oppression.”

We might wear Che T-shirts, ignorant of the man’s evil.  We might stage protests under flags displaying the Swastika, oblivious. We might call our neighbors Fascists if they utter an opinion with which we disagree, because we don’t really know what fascism is.

Instead, let us express our gratitude to those who defended us at Ypres, Belleau Wood, Dieppe, Iwo Jima, The Bulge, the Chosen Reservoir, Khe Sanh, and Fallujah.  Let us display a humble respect for those who gave their lives on behalf of the ideal of individual freedom.

Without our continuing consciousness of their effort, those who have died and those who die tomorrow protecting our liberty, are literally dust. If we do not honor these heroes, we are likely to lose our way of life by the worst possible means – the habit of thinking things had to be the way they are and not some other way.  We need to reflect on just how amazing it is that we’ve escaped Hobbes’ description of life as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short,” and how fragile the achievement is.

A moment of silence is a pittance to pay in gratitude to fallen warriors and to revive failing memories.

Update, 11:10. In the interests of remembering, the incomparable Mark Steyn:
The War That Made the World We Live In

Veterans Day

In Flanders Fields
Canadian Army Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Liberty is not inevitable. Freedom isn’t free.

In some places, a moment of silence is observed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month because that is when the guns went silent for the armistice that ended World War I. I observe this ritual recognition of the price of peace and freedom. I commend it to you.

This day is Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, Veterans Day. The silence should resound throughout the countries who observe it under those different names.

This pittance of time pays respect to those who gave their lives in our defense. Our remembrance of their gift is not important to them. They don’t know they won. Were they with us still, they would minimize their contribution. If they would discuss it at all.

Remembering these heroes’ values is vitally important to us, lest we gradually come to think that things had to be the way they are, and not some other way. We could become convinced that our present advantages were owed to us, destined and easy: The “natural order of things.”

This is an exceedingly dangerous belief, appropriate to no one: Held only by those who believe the natural order of things guarantees their personal safety and well-being – regardless of their effort, despite their unexamined ideals.

In reality, things are the way they are because some people were – and are – so committed to liberty as to give their own lives in its defense.

They died defending your right to choose to observe a minute of silence.

It is your choice.

A moment of silence

A moment of silence is observed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month because that is when the guns went silent for the armistice that ended World War I. I observe this ritual. I commend it to you.

This day is Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, Veterans Day. The silence should resound throughout the countries who observe it under those different names.

A moment’s silence, please.

A moment silence is observed at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month because that is when the guns went silent for the armistice that ended World War I. I observe this ritual. I commend it to you.

This day is Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, Veterans Day. The silence should resound throughout the countries who observe it under those different names.

I first posted what follows below on 11/11/2008. I don’t know if I can do much better, so here it is again. The changes I would make are to shorten it a bit and to put Terry Kelly’s song at the top.

There, I did.

Please read the story about why the song was written and then listen to it. Then, if you want, come back and read the rest of this post…

The 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month – A Pittance of Time reprise
Tuesday, November 11, 2008

If we do not remember those who gave their lives to preserve our way of life, we are likely to lose that way of life by the worst possible means – the habit of thinking things had to be the way they are and not some other way. This lesson is not buried in some dusty tome; our grandparents know better. How could we forget?

Some of us understand that things are the way they are because some soldiers were – and are – so committed to liberty as to give their own lives in its defense. Sadly, the vast majority of us do not seem committed to remember this debt.

There is encouragement for this amnesia. We have many enemies, and putative friends, who desire that we forget past courage and honor. They desire that the remembrance of the justice of the causes of the past should slip away. They view even their own immediate ancestors – who rose to meet challenges of personal and cultural annihilation – as quaint throwbacks to an unenlightened age.

These enemies and self-declared friends are wrong. We must reject their idea that our enemies are simply people we haven’t yet had the intelligence to recognize as our moral equivalents.

Remember Ypres, Belleau Wood and Dieppe. Do not forget Iwo Jima or The Bulge or the Chosen Reservoir or Khe Sanh.

And Khe Sanh is a good example of how an agenda of defeat twists logic: At Khe Sanh 205 Americans were killed, while the North Vietnamese lost between ten and fifteen thousand. The Western press portrayed Khe San as a defeat. Like Tet. Do not forget Tet, where Walter Cronkite surrendered, on our behalf, following our resounding victory.

Our enemies had these “victories” because, while our soldiers were annihilating them, we lost heart. We should certainly remember that.

What we remember will affect what we think. The ritual denigration of the US military continues to affect Associated Press headlines 40 years after Tet, as observed by TOC.

If Veterans day is not an event that counters this defeatism, where will we find the will to win the war against Islamofascism? Respect for those who gave their lives on our behalf LAST WEEK is as necessary as respect for those who died in the Civil War and WWI and WWII and Korea and Viet Nam.

Without our continuing consciousness of their effort, those who have died and those who die tomorrow on behalf of our present freedom, are literally dust. You must not let that happen. They died for their homes and families and friends, and for a rule of law and traditions they cherished and a future they believed in; they died for you.

This truth was not a question until latter half of the 20th Century.

In 1915 John McCrae, a Canadian Army doctor, wrote In Flanders Fields, about the horrors he saw in the Ypres salient.

In Flanders Fields

by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Update 10:29AM
Also see: Michigan Taxes Too Much

Remember and be Thankful

It is Veteran’s Day. In Canada, today is Remembrance Day. Please observe a moment of silence at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

In Flanders Fields
Canadian Army Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

IN FLANDERS FIELDS the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

A Pittance of Time

Terry Kelly is a Newfoundland native, a double silver medallist at the 1979 Canadian Track Championships and a singer, songwriter and motivational speaker. On November 11, 1999 he had an experience that caused him to write a song about the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

The story behind the song will increase your appreciation of it. Listen here: A Pittance of Time.

It’s well worth your time.

Lyrics can be found here.