Today is Veteran’s Day. It was originally Armistice Day celebrating the end of World War I — “The War to End All Wars.” It ended on 11-11 at 11 in the morning in 1918.

AP Photo/FS

My mother was a child during WWI and a young adult during WWII — and thoroughly disillusioned by the time I was hearing her stories. She was a great story teller and had an amazing memory. When she talked about war, she mostly talked most about “The GREAT War.” By which she didn’t mean World War II. The Great War was World War I.

She survived the 1918-1921 Flu Epidemic which remarkably, we seem to have managed to surpass with COVID. Aren’t we special!

From The Illustrated London News of January 9, 1915: “British and German Soldiers Arm-in-Arm Exchanging Headgear: A Christmas Truce between Opposing Trenches”

Nonetheless, the best quotes come from World War II. It was that miracle combination of FDR and Churchill, two of the most incredibly intelligent, literate leaders of the U.S. and U.K. We were blessed with brilliant leadership at a time when we desperately needed it. We were lucky

I think that’s what wrong with “now.” In World War II we had great leaders when we needed them. When we needed great leadership now, we got Trump.

You don’t get winners every time, but you never know. We might get lucky again.

Categories: #black-&-white-photography, #Photography, Anecdote, old photograph, Remembering - Memories, War and battles

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21 replies

  1. I fully agree with your assessment. In those two awful wars, there were good men with strong principles to lead us. This time (not if, but when) we’re lost. It tears my heart. Thanks Marilyn for remembering those brave people who served. Hubby was one of them in Viet Nam and he brought home wounds that plagued him for the rest of his life (in the form of PTSD). War is so pointless. I can see why the flower children stuck a daisy in the ‘gun’ of that tank in that picture that gets circulated now and then.

    Liked by 2 people

    • After all these years of making excuses for “why” I have finally concluded that you can’t END war with more war. There are always plenty of reasons for a war, but never a good reason for peace. Another thing: we’ve been spending billions to keep our troops in Afghanistan. Now, they are home. Where are THOSE billions? They didn’t come home. We can afford an endless war — often several at a time — but somehow, we can’t find the money for medical care or to raise Social Security so we old folks can live like people and stop scrounging.

      I remember listening to my mother for years. I would sit and watch her iron my father’s shirts. She would ramble on about WWI and II, about FDR and how the government would dump extra food in vacant lots, then poison it so no one could eat it even though it was the Depression and people were hungry. I was sure she had to be wrong, but it turns out she was right. I also remember saying that if we got out of Vietnam, we’d have all that money to use at home. She raised an eyebrow. “That money will NEVER come home. There is always money for war, but never money for peace.”

      “What,” I asked “Will we do in Vietnam?”

      She looked at me and said: “What we always do. Declare a victory and leave.” I was really proud that Biden did NOT do that. He is a unique president. Pity he is so old he is unlikely to run again. There is a lot more to him than meets the eye.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope the world doesn’t go too war again.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful post, Marilyn. I spent hours looking up all of that but every year I seem to write more about my family and participation in several of the wars that followed “the war to end all wars”. If only it had!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much. I got fascinated by WWI after reading several history books about it. It was such a horror and it SHOULD have been an end, but the armistice was a disaster and of course, ended up adding one more world war, so Iinstead of being the end of wars, it seems to have made constant war the norm.

      I can’t remember when there wasn’t either a war or a police action — undeclared wars — going on. Sometimes there’s so much fighting going on, I can’t even zero in on which is a war and if maybe we are having an interval of break out peace.I keep wondering if peace WILL ever break out. I think not in my lifetime.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I read somewhere that in all the history of the US we have only had 20 years of peace with the rest being war in some olace in the world. If we could just stop thinking we have to police the world life could be so much better for us all. Viet Nam, for instance, has been constantly at war for several THOUSANDS of years and yet Kennedy thought we could end it for them. HA! At least it made people forget the Bay of Pigs disaster and I think that was his intent all along. And it was my first vote ever when he was elected and I voted for him.

        Liked by 1 person

        • We really are an arrogant people. I think we forget that our “wealth” was built on the ashes of two world wars. We never got bombed. When the wars ended, the U.S, took over the markets free of competition. Times have changed. If WE don’t change, life will keep getting more difficult. There’s no reality to believing “we” can go it alone. There IS no alone anymore. History, life, technology — it never ever ever go backward.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I think people have forgotten history completely and are trying to rewrite it to suit this “ME first” society. Too many parents have given their children everything they want because the parents were either deprived of some of it themselves and swore their kids will have it easier — or because it’s easier to give Junior what he or she wants than to give them what they need — the time and attention necessary to let them know they don’t need a lot of stuff. My own three kids were working on the farm as soon as they were old enough to toddle along behind the tractor and water whatever was being planted at the time.

            One of them raised her kids to work for what they got, the other one with kids gave them what they wanted as soon as it came out of their mouths’. Not the way to let them know they should be building a work ethic. And they have also forgotten that this country was founded by pilgrims looking for freedom of religion, not the freedom to take what they wanted from the ones who got here first. Too bad the early settlers couldn’t find a way to live in peace with the natives who kept the from starving when they first arrived. Greed is our downfall.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I’m not sure anyone ever TRIED to live in peace with Natives in any land where Europeans intruded. Australia has many of the same stories we do. Not as long because Australia was settled later, but painfully similar.

              We have to remember that the Pilgrims may have been looking for freedom of religion, but they weren’t looking for freedom. They were as brutally sure they were right and the rest of the world was wrong as the people who oppressed them.

              We wanted this country. We didn’t care who we had to slaughter to get it. I’m not convinced this has changed a whole lot. Maybe we are a little more subtle, but we want what we want and we really don’t seem to care much how we get it. It’s greed, but it’s greed for not just money, but for land, for power, for dominance. After all these years, you’d think we’d see a gleam of truth, but I’m not seeing it. I keep hoping, but not exactly holding my breath.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Very true. I think there were some, not many but some who would rather have lived in peace with the natives, but so many were lost on both sides of that time of history. Brutality on both sides made peace difficult. The biggest difference I have read about is that the Native Americans believed the land didn’t belong to anyone but was given in trust to us all to be used and then saved for future generations rather than to be owned by anyone. If we had only listened to their wisdom we might have a better earth to live on now with less pollution and more flora and fauna. I’m afraid we have passed that point now and all my great grandchildren will inherit will be paved over with concrete and glass.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Oh the temptation of time travel to go back and fix it, eh? Maybe this grisly mess we’ve made was inevitable. Maybe it’s in our DNA that we do what we do until we can’t. I’m glad I won’t be around in a hundred years!

                  Liked by 2 people

      • Seems as if we are always at war, on the brink of war or talking it up. Will we ever truly have peace?
        Great post!


    • Angel, so many lives lost to that war to end all wars. And, the war mongers are still at it. When will they ever learn?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Time to play “Where Have All the Flowers Gone.”

        When will they ever learn?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Unfortunately I can’t see an end to it Garry. We seem to be involved in a new war before tha last one is settled now. It’s all about power and greed. I’ve often said that if the leaders want war then let them do the fighting. Leave the young people at home so they can grow up before being taught to kill and their “duty” to kill and maim by whatever means they can find. And stop making newer and better killing methods. Too much money to be made by too many people when war breaks out again.

        Liked by 2 people


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