Nov 11, 2013

Veterans Day in Deed and in Memory 11:11:11

Veterans Day wasn’t always “Veterans Day.” It used to be called by another name.

In the year 1918, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the Allies and Germany came together at Rethondes, France and signed an armistice that ended hostilities on the Western Front.

“The War to End All Wars” was finally over. Roughly 20 million had perished, but the November 11 peace lasted and the soldiers went home.

In the United States and other allied countries, November 11th  became an official holiday called Armistice Day as declared by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919. Several years later, an act of Congress made November 11th a federal legal holiday, calling Armistice Day, “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace.”

*All around the globe, people embraced the tradition of pausing for two minutes of silence at 11 a.m. on Armistice Day as a tribute to all those who fought in the Great War, as well as to give thanks for peace.

The holiday began to lose its significance in 1939. As Britain and other western countries prepared for the impending war against Germany, it became clear that the “War to End All Wars” would soon need a new name. In some countries, the two-minute Armistice Day silence was moved to the Sunday nearest November 11th to prevent it from interfering with wartime production.

Over 60 million people died in World War II -- the deadliest conflict in human history. In the 1950’s, Armistice Day in the United States was changed to Veterans Day to remember all those that had served. The original language about the holiday being dedicated to ‘world peace’ was dropped.

American novelist Kurt Vonnegut mentioned the holiday in “Breakfast of Champions." As an American WWII veteran and former prisoner of war, he wrote:

“When I was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month. It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one and another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind. Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not."

An outspoken humanist and anti-war activist, the establishment of Veterans Day disappointed him. A holiday dedicated to peace and those who fought in the “War to End All Wars” was replaced by a holiday to honor a continually growing population of war veterans. The name ‘Veterans Day’ itself suggests that we will always have living war veterans to honor -- that war will never be eradicated.

On Veterans Day 2013, we find ourselves still at war. I would like to truly honor the memory and the intent of this day.


*Place take a few minutes...perhaps at 11 a.m. as in tradition... or perhaps at 11:11 on today the 11th month and the 11th day to increase by the power of synchronicity......and honor peace.

May the peace we pray for be sent forward to manifest into a universe of peace where Veteran's Day once again honors that original day of complete peace. And pray for nations to be at peace, with soldiers once more come home again.

In honor of this day or remembrance, here in the U.S. I offer 'Free Patriotic Quilting Patterns' with tutorials, links, and other projects and links.

My primary list is at this primary blog... With Heart and is always the first set of posts that I udpate, so to make it easier on myself than adding all of that to this, check them out at the link below:

With Heart and Hands: Free Patriotic Quilting (And Sewing!) Patterns

And in remembrance,  let us not forget the other nations who also served in so many wars as well as in time of peace:

In the Commonwealth:

Remembrance Day (also known as Poppy Day or Armistice Day) is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth countries since the end of World War I to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. This day, or alternative dates, are also recognised as special days for war remembrances in many non-Commonwealth countries. Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November to recall the end of hostilities of World War I on that date in 1918. Hostilities formally ended "at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month," in accordance with the Armistice, signed by representatives of Germany and the Entente between 5:12 and 5:20 a.m.

"At the 11th hour"

actually refers to the passing of the 11th hour or 11:00 a.m.

shown at the very top:
My sweet little Willow, now passed away, who still looked very young until the last few of her 16 years!  Wonderful little cat who we miss, dearly!  Although she helped me with all of my sewing and quilting, she loved my patriotic quilting, most of all. I could not keep her away from those fabrics and just sewing with her 'helping' me, anyway! Such memories and part of my patriotic holidays of remembrance, always!

Michele Bilyeu blogs With Heart and Hands as she shares a quilting journey through her life in Salem, Oregon and Douglas, Alaska. Sewing, quilting, and wildcrafting, with small format art quilts, prayer flags, and comfort quilts for a variety of charitable programs. And best of all, sharing thousands of links to Free Quilt and Quilt Block Patterns and encouraging others to join her and make and donate quilts to charitable causes.   Help us change the world, one little quilt at a time!


Celia said...

I''m older than I thought, I remember Armistice Day but didn't know the history around it. Thank a veteran, thanks to our children who are serving today. God grant they return to us healthy.

quiltmom anna said...

Today we remember our loved ones who went to serve our country. My FIL and my great uncles served during WWII- we have paused to view the service and reflect in moments of silence. We have thanked them and celebrate the many gifts they brought to our lives.
Your Willow was a beautiful cat- Cats are so connected in my quilting heart- for now our hearts are very sad at the loss of Mars- making quilts is not the same without her. I am sure that it is true for you as well. Hugs,

Nancy said...

What a beautiful post. Thank you for it, and for posting the quilting patterns for these wonderful patriotic quilts.

Stacey said...

Thank you very much for your post. It was a great day of appreciation and reflection for me.

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

Your post made me sad. I didn't know the history of "Veteran's Day". How can that be..that that it's origin has been forgotten is what saddens me. My husband was in the Army in the Viet Nam era serving at the Korean DMZ when the Pueblo was taken. I have so many anti-war sentiments that I would not voice here. But thank you for the post. Hopefully it will be read by many.

On a lighter note, there is a snow storm west of me that is not reaching me and I am so happy about that!
xx, Carol