Thursday, November 11, 2010

11th Hour, 11th Day, 11th Month

Today, 11 Nov, is Veteran's Day in the United States.  (Elsewhere in many other countries, it is Armistice Day or Remembrance Day.)  I implore you to immediately drop what you're doing and go thank a veteran in your life.  Hell, go out and find a random veteran to thank.  (Veterans in the DC area, you've been put on alert for my presence.)  Take him or her to Outback for a blooming onion.

The origin of the holiday not only in the United States but the world over is signing of the armistice to end the major hostilities of World War I.  For many other countries, such as the members of the former British Empire, France, Germany, and Belgium (can't forget those plucky Belgians), the day definitely has a large focus on the First World War.  For the United States, due to the somewhat limited engagement it had during the war, it doesn't ring too much with the national conscience.  Nevertheless, it was a major conflict that Americans gave their lives to.

Which brings me to the main driving point: Where is the memorial for the WWI veterans and casualties?  We've got one for WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.  What about the doughboys who went over with General John "Blackjack" Pershing?  What about the US Marines who got trapped in Belleau Wood?  Don't they deserve some sort of memorial among the other veterans?  Such was the concern raised by the last veteran of WWI in the United States.

Technically, there is a memorial to the veterans of WWI on the mall, but it's a bit off the beaten path.
Okay, really off the beaten path.
The DC War Memorial was erected in honor of its 26,000 citizens who served in WWI.  On it are the names of each life the conflict took from DC.  Its seclusion is unfortunate and yet poignant in the same way, a way of signifying the unfortunate status befallen upon many WWI veterans who never really got the legacy they deserved in the national consciousness.  I had never heard of the monument and found it by accident as I was moseying my way around the National Mall between the various other more notable memorials.

There has been a push to rededicate the memorial to honor all veterans and casualties of WWI.  Now while a part of me wishes they would have the same treatment the WWII memorial has been afforded, on the other hand, it would be nice to have more people at least know about the memorial dedicated to the people who served in WWI, if only to make sure no one forgets them.

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