Monday, November 12, 2007

The last Armistice Day

I have blogged a couple of times on the rapidly disappearing veterans of the First World War. Now Richard Rubin in a piece for the NY Times reports that we are down to the last American soldier who served in France, Frank Buckles. He opines in his melancholy essay that this is likely to be the last year we celebrate Armistice Day with a living veteran of the Great War. Oddly this seems to have drawn almost no attention in the United States. Overseas the passing of the last veterans of that war has been carefully watched for some years now. France has prepared plans for a full blown state funeral when its last Word War I veteran dies.

One would think we might at least pause briefly and tip our hat to the memory of all those Americans who fought to make the world safe for democracy. That they failed in no way diminishes the noble character or glorious conviction which motivated an entire generation to march off to war, truly believing that if they fought hard enough there would never be another. In the history of our country its quite possible that there has never been a generation as idealistic as that one, nor one as ill used.

May their memory be eternal.

1 comment:

orrologion said...

Well, the Americans only got into the war at a very late date and with relatively few numbers, the war wasn't on their soil, and our troops were mainly volunteers rather than from the full social spectrum of society. Europe was a veyr different story, which makes their last soldiers a very different kind of response.