On November 11th, 1918, forever after commemorated as Armistice Day and/or Remembrance Day (except in the US, where some lunatic politicians decided to amalgamate it with the commemoration of veterans, and thus lose its unique and historic character), the First World War came to an end.
The killing was over - and there'd been plenty of it . . . almost ten million battlefield deaths, almost seven million civilian deaths, and over twenty-one million battlefield wounded. Astonishingly, sickeningly, the killing didn't stop even on that last day of the war. Unfeeling, uncaring commanders sent their men to die up to the very last moment, not bothering to consider that attacks were no longer necessary.
The BBC made an excellent documentary on the events of that last day of World War I, which has been posted to YouTube. For those who'd like to take the time to recall the experiences and achievements of their relatives all those decades ago, here it is, in five parts.
For myself, I'll be thinking of my maternal grandfather today. He and his wife lived with us when I was a baby, although both died before I was of schoolgoing age. I remember my grandfather mostly because of his uncontrollable coughing . . . the fruit of a German gas attack on the British trenches during World War I. He never fully recovered from the injuries he sustained.
May he, and the other forgotten veterans of that war, rest in peace.