Veterans Day began as call for world peace

The following editorial about Armistice Day -- what we now call Veterans Day -- appeared in the Union-Bulletin on Nov. 10, 1945.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: This editorial was published following the end of World War II. Armistice Day was proclaimed a holiday in 1919 to commemorate the signing of the Nov. 11, 1918, armistice that brought World War I to an end. The holiday was changed by Congress to Veterans Day in 1954 to honor all veterans and establish "a day dedicated to world peace."

Armistice Day

By some yardsticks that are applicable, Armistice Day is not one of our major holidays. The event that brought World War I to a halt had not been time-tested when we set up a clamor of its commemoration and with less than three decades of observance behind it, Armistice Day is viewed with varying degrees of zeal by our people.

The slogans that had been born in World War I doubtless inspired high hopes that the armistice of 1918 would, indeed, make the world safe for democracy and mark the just-ended struggle as the war to end wars.

We believed then, but we have been inclined since to be a bit more wary. That explains our taking time before proclaiming the end of World War II and the lack of urgency in getting about the business of shaping treaties of peace.

All this does not indicate that we Americans are any less eager for peace than was the case at this time 27 years ago. If anything, the trend of world affairs has made us more strikingly conscious of a need for peace and of the difficulties which will have to be surmounted before it is assured.

We went into the postwar era in 1919 with a man of high and lofty idealism as president. We finished this war, and we face the future, with a realist, a man of moderate likes and dislikes, in the White House.

Along with that difference we have before us, as a guide, the experience that was gained from the events following swiftly upon the cessation of fighting in 1918. Because that armistice stands, like a beacon, to guide us past dangerous shoals this time, the day we now observe does have value.

The future, may perhaps, see Armistice Day relegated to a place of less importance than now, but for the present, let's not be too hasty in putting aside the valuable lessons it affords in the shaping of a peace that, this time, needs to be fool-proof.

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