By Dave Lindorff
Back on November 11, 1918, with the end of World War I, once the most bloody war in history, and with a two-year deadly flu pandemic raging, caused in large part by the war and the rapid spread of the disease by infected troops returning to their homes, nobody was in the mood to celebrate anything.
The four-year war, fought not to “defend democracy” as our national mythology tells us, but as a cat-fight among colonial empires fighting for bigger shares of each other’s collapsing empires, ended up killing 10 million soldiers (116,000 of them US troops, who only entered that war during its final year) and wounding another 20 million — many of them grievously.
As the first “modern” war, fought with industrial-scale killing machines and weapons like machine guns, tanks, enormous cannons, aerial bombings of cities, and the use of various types of poison gas, it also caused millions of civilian deaths.
It may come as a surprise to today’s US Americans, but when a day of commemoration was established on Nov. 11, 1919, a year to the day after the day all the fighting and killing stopped, it was called Armistice Day (Remembrance Day in the UK), and instead of the fireworks of Memorial Day, was commemorated here in the US by a national minute of silence and mourning at exactly 11 am.
In 1938, with Europe lurching again towards an even more terrible war that would belie the nickname “The War to End All Wars” given optimistically to the global bloodletting of two decades earlier, Congress passed a resolution establishing Armistice Day as a national holiday. The resolution, in language not heard since in this country with the ascendancy of militarism and cheap jingoistic patriotism, called for the day to be “dedicated to the cause of world peace.”
Then came World War II, with the slaughter of even more civilians and combatants and the the launch of the atomic era with the US dropping two catastrophic atomic bombs on non-military Japanese cities for no good reason but to send an intimidating message the Soviet Union by demonstrating their awesome power in the most graphic way possible.
By 1954, with the Cold War raging, and both the US and USSR building, as fast as possible, atomic and even more powerful thermonuclear bombs capable of wiping out entire metropolitan areas or whole nations, November 11 was changed to being called Veterans Day. Instead of dedicating that date to world peace, the myth was then perpetrated that it would be, as proponent Edward H. Rees (Republican-KS) put it, “to give recognition to the fact that before and since World War I, millions of United States men have fought and died under the flag of the United States in the furtherance of world peace.”
Laughable I know, but the reality of course is that most US wars being commemorated were fought for much less noble reasons…
For the rest of this article by DAVE LINDORFF in ThisCantBeHappening!, the uncompromised, collectively run, six-time Project Censored Award-winning online alternative news site, please go to: https://thiscantbehappening.net/lets-just-be-honest-and-call-november-11-forgetting-day/