11a.m. November 11, 1918

11 11 2007

World War I ended in a train. The truce was dictated, not negotiated, and came only after the war-time German government had already abdicated and fled the country. World War I so perfectly demonstrated the futility of war that its only redeeming feature at the end of it was it inspired world consensus, that The Great War was the “war to end all war.”

Now it is re-named “Veterans’ Day” in the United States and is the plaything of pro-war propaganda. The horrific senselessness of war, as amply obvious in
World War I has been obliterated in this pious project to honor all veterans living and dead.

Just as Chicago’s Soldier Field (home of the Chicago Bears) has obscured its original meaning, a memorial to the victims of World War I. The re-born Soldier Field has murals and sculpture to glorify combattants in all the great wars of the 20th century. The sense of the commemorative art is to celebrate wars, WWII, Korea, Viet Nam and by extension, any future war deemed appropriate for American interests. The tragic memorial of the original World War I Soldier Field, one of the great Chicago public spaces, has been buried.

But life overcomes history, as they say and this week CNN and a few other media released a new study that claims up to 25% of American homeless are veterans of diverse American wars, including a few hundred U.S. soldiers de-mobilized from Iraq, right into their accommodations back home, a spot on the street.

plan “b” grew up in the Navy in the days before Food Stamps and national measures of poverty and back then and right now, military and their families are treated carelessly. Their beleaguered material lives (food, housing, competent medical care) are always the dark side of the moon to the bright side of official militarism.

Today is not Veterans Day it is still Armistice Day and Armistice Day means something. It was the promise to the unborn of the future that they would not be forced to war. That is the best honor any country can give to those who despite the Great War were compelled to the violence and humiliation of war and, if they survived it, the unshakeable ghost of it in their lives.




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