Veterans Day: Holiday for some

This year, by a quirk of the calendar, Veterans Day actually falls on Nov. 11, which was the official date of the Armistice Day holiday commemorating the end of World War I, Nov. 11, 1918. The name was changed decades later.

And while the newer version honors all veterans, as it should, many think it is equally important to remember its original purpose. The column that ran on Veterans Day last year got only eight shares, meaning many either didn’t read it, pass it on, or both. But I’d like to take another run at it to plug an excellent book about American history this particular “holiday,” and why many people think that World War I was the leading cause of the rise of Hitler in Germany and World War II. That war touched many of our parents, grandparents or great-grandparents. I hope you read the book, and more importantly, I hope your kids read it. And get it!

Here it goes:

Today marks the centennial of the end of World War I, the bloodiest in history up until that time. Many historians think the terms of the armistice actually sowed the seeds for World War II, which, for most of Europe started in 1939.

Many believe that the war started by accident, although both sides had been prepping and war-gaming it for decades.

First, this is not a “holiday.” It is a somber occasion, a time to remember. Secondly, it wasn’t always called Veterans Day. To better understand what it was and what it meant, I highly recommend you read Joseph Persico’s “Eleventh Month, Eleventh Day, Eleventh Hour: Armistice Day, 1918, World War I and Its Violent Climax.”

The book is about the last few hours before the armistice. President John F. Kennedy once said that every world leader should read “The Guns of August” by Barbara Tuchman once a year. It’s about the runup to war, while the Persico work is a true tale of how not to end one.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Brian Bradley

Though it started as a home furniture company in 1927, La-Z-Boy during World War II manufactured seats for tanks, torpedo boats, gun turrets, and armored cars.

Source: Mental Floss

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