It's Veteran's Day. It's the day we should all remember the sacrifices every veteran has made to protect the freedoms outlined in the Constitution. Were it not for the millions of men and women who've served in the Armed Forces, that piece of paper would just be, well, just a piece of paper long since consigned into the dustbin of history.
But where did the day come from? Why is it so important? Something from Kurt Vonnegut - a writer far far more talented than I will ever be - keeps echoing in my head whenever I think of November eleventh. Here's what he wrote in Breakfast of Champions (by the way "Dwayne Hoover" is a character from the book - go read it):
I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day. When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.Armistice Day was the end of The Great War. It was called The War to End All Wars, and obviously they got the name wrong. But the day speaks to us as a symbol of hope in recognition of the folly of calling any war "The War to End All Wars."
It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.
The lesson learned is that there will always be conflict and we should be eternally grateful to those who've sacrificed some part of themselves to protect us and our freedom.