November 11th, is Veterans Day. It is also the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice by the Germans in 1918. The fighting seized in the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month that year. My grandfather served in the Army as a chaplain during World War I, a war often described as the Great One or the War to end all wars, but it didn't. In a letter to my grandmother, he shared his feelings about the war.
At Canadaiga, some soldiers were leaving. They began to sing the popular songs "Over There," and Hail, Hail The Gang's All Here," In the middle of it a man came hurrying down the street and rushed to the edge of the group at the car steps. Shortly after, he returned to the edge of the pavement, leaned his head on his arms against the stone wall and broke down crying. He was a middle aged man and I concluded that his boy was leaving. He soon controlled himself and walked off. I am more and more convinced that the mothers and fathers are paying a greater price in this war than we young ones are. Why doesn't this war stop, anyway?
But finally the war did end and on November 11th, 1918, my grandmother wrote:
The whistles are blowing so that I cannot sleep. So I am writing this letter by candle light at 5 A.M. It must be that the German representatives answered before the time limit was up for President Wilson has asked that here be no more celebrating till the official announcement from Washington. You see, the nation just about went wild last Thursday. Big parades were held and the greatest excitement reigned in many places...
On that same day, my Grandfather said:
Last night we received news of the abdication of the Kaiser; today rumors of the Armistice terms accepted. So we expect peace very shortly now. And how happy this world will be!
My grandparents were finally reunited June the following year. Of the reunion, my grandfather wrote:
My love attack! What a second of joy as my eyes first caught sight of her! Then a kiss and a hug worth its impetuosity in gold. Afterward, a walk and a sweet blissful time in chatting and loving.
To all those Veterans out there, a heartfelt Thank you!
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