Recently I watched an old black and white movie — the title escapes me — that opens with a World War I aerial dogfight where one of the pilots keeps checking his watch to see if the war was over yet. In the opening minutes of the film a couple of planes get shot down, men are killed, and then the hour arrives and they cease firing. The combatants salute each other and fly their separate ways.
The events portrayed fictionalize what actually took place ninety-six years ago today. On the morning of November 11, 1918, the Signal Corps confirmed the dispatch along the western front — the shooting was to stop at 11:00 a.m. in accordance with agreement reached between Germany and the Allied Powers. It is very odd to think that men continued to fight and die up until that 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, but they did.
A year later in 1919 that day was celebrated as a holiday — Armistice Day. After World War II the name was changed to Veterans Day. What follows are a few examples of important information that many Americans are learning about as we mark the 100th anniversary of the Great War’s beginning in 1914.
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