U.S. holiday celebrated today remembers the sacrifices of those who fight for freedom
By Robin Rowe
HOLLYWOOD, CA (Gosh!TV) 11/11/2009 – War is one of life’s irrational situations where most people can agree it’s wrong, yet the consequences without it can be much worse. As long as there are tyrants, and as long as there are those willing to use force of arms to oppose them, there will be wars. At least, if there’s to be freedom in this world.
Veterans Day originally had a different name and a somewhat different intention. President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed an Armistice Day for November 11, 1919, as “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as Armistice Day.” It celebrated peace, the end of WW1 a year earlier. In 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower renamed the holiday as Veterans Day in recognition of the services of all veterans, an idea put forward by a shoe store owner, Al King in Emporia, Kansas.
A peace policy didn’t work when dealing with Hitler and never does with dictators, warlords or pirates. England may have saved money initially with the appeasement of Hitler, but that peace led to war. That England and France didn’t fight to defend Czechoslovakia from Germany’s invasion gave Hitler the raw materials he needed to attack them next.
There was widespread support for a policy of peace at any cost after the horrors of WW1 killed 16 million and the influenza pandemic of 1918 killed 50 million. However, WW2 wasn’t the first time the United States went to war because peace was worse.
In March 1785, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams went to London to negotiate with Tripoli’s ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman. Asked why U.S. merchant ships in the Mediterranean were being attacked by Tripoli’s ships without provocation, the ambassador replied that it was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave. The Muslim ambassador said that every Muslim who was slain in warfare was sure to go to paradise.
By 1800, U.S. payments for passage on the high seas in ransom and tribute (or “protection” as the mafia calls it) amounted to 20% of the U.S. government’s annual income. To put an end to that, the United States launched the First Barbary War from 1801 to 1805. That peace was short lived because the pirates took advantage of the absence of the U.S. navy while fighting the War of 1812 against England. The Second Barbary War was from 1815 to 1816.
The U.S. marines invaded Tripoli in 1805, as the opening of the Marines Hymn notes, “From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli….” General William Eaton and marine first lieutenant Presley O’Bannon made a surprising march across the desert from Alexandria, Egypt, to capture the Tripolitan city of Derna. For the first time in history, the United States flag flew in victory on foreign soil. In 1816, at the end of the Second Barbary War, 1,083 Christian slaves and the British Consul were freed.
The United States army, air force, navy and marines continue to protect U.S. citizens and allies across the world. Veterans Day celebrates and shows the country’s appreciation of their courage and sacrifice for the cause of freedom and liberty.