The dateline was Paris, France and, November 11th, 1918. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, 1918, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect. The “the war to end all wars.” had ended. it was 6:00AM, New York time.
The Daily Telegraph announced that the “entire World rejoices in downfall of Autocratic Militarism” and so Peace was declared and “the great war” was over.
Today, we celebrate that day’s 100th Anniversary. A day that would be celebrated as Armistice Day for many years and then by Congressional decree changed to “Veterans Day”. A day to honor and pay tribute to all members of the US Armed Services– to those that served and to those currently serving.
100 years ago, we rejoiced because a ‘lasting peace” had been declared. The gunfire, the bombs, the shelling, and the toxic gas were silenced and extinguished. The Soldiers, the Marines, the Seamen all ceased open hostilities. For many, peace of mind and peace of soul were still many years away.
And alas, outward Peace was fleeting. It always is. Since then; we have engaged the enemy many more times; whoever the enemy may become at a particular point in time. But still; we honor and thank the men and women who served in our stead for battles they never declared and for the wars that our country and allied countries chose to wage. And we pay tribute to those who currently serve our country here at home and around the Globe.
In times of Peace, we often forget the brutalities of war, the terror of battle and loss of lives and how it affects us. But we also forget the temporary nature of Peace itself. How it feels, how it sounds, how we act when we are at Peace.
The Imperial War Museum of London wants us to never forget the sounds of war, nor the sounds of peace. Their researchers and curators have remastered audio recordings and sound graphs of the approximate sound of peace on that 11th hour of that 11th day of Armistice along the American front near the River Moselle between France and Germany; exactly 100 years ago today. Take two minutes, turn your speakers to “LOUD” on your computer, or on your phone and remember the War and remember the Peace as those Veterans we celebrate today may have experienced it.