By Dave Lindorff
To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, God must love veterans; He makes so many of them.
So Happy Armistice Day! Happy Remembrance Day!
Today is Veteran's Day, and we'll have the usual parades and the show of flags, but it's worth remembering that Nov. 11 wasn't always a day for blindly glorifying the military.
When November 11 was initially established as a US holiday, it was done by an Act of Congress to commemorate the cease-fire established on the Western front between the forces of Germany and those of the French, British and Americans. The name of the holiday was only changed to Veterans Day after World War II, when the US was in the process of being transformed into a permanent war machine.
The original day was established to condemn war and to recall the horrors of the a senseless war that caused the deaths of over 20,000,000 people.
Today, Veteran's Day is not about pacifism or condemning war, though, but about blind flag-waving patriotism and celebrating our "heroes" in uniform, and of course desperate sales by financially struggling retail establishments.
It's worth recalling, because nobody talks about these things, that over two million Americans have been sent to serve tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. That's a pretty big number--maybe more than 1% of the adult US population.