Armistice Day

PRENOTE: Anyone interested in my comments about Election 2018, written before votes were counted Nov. 6, here is my post.


Armistice Day, Nov. 11, is Sunday this year, and all are invited to a special event at the Landmark Center in St. Paul from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Details can be viewed  and a flyer downloaded (A Day of Peace. scroll down, at left),

The program is a jointly sponsored presentation of Veterans for Peace and the Landmark Center.

This is the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI, famously, the 11th month, 11th day, when at the 11th hour the Armistice was made official.  (In the United States, in the 1950s, the day was renamed Veterans Day, but that’s another story for another time.)

All wars are insane, “necessary” or not.  WWI was one of the worst.  For those with an interest, Vet for Peace Mary McN sent along this item from the New Yorker.

Washington DC November 2018 by John ‘Bernard

There are the stories.  Here are a couple:

The World War I Flu was a deadly disease which quite likely had its ground zero in Kansas but was variously attributed to Spain, Asia or other places, and took a horrendous toll in its short deadly run in 1918.

My Aunt Mary, who turned five in 1918, wrote her memories in the 1990s, including this (p. 138 of Pioneers): “the First World War was fought.  The thing that I remember about the war was the Asian Flu.  Everyone in the neighborhood [rural North Dakota] had it.  They were either really sick, or just had a slight case.  Dad had it, but was able to do the chores, get groceries, etc.  He even helped a few neighbors.”

Her memories are set in their little farm house, two rooms down, two up, a place we grandkids got to know well years later.

[Mary’s older sister and my mother] “Esther and Ma were really sick.  They had high fevers, stomach-aches, vomited, and had nose bleeds.  Mrs Freese came and helped.  After she helped [her sister and my Aunt] Lucina, [age 11], make something to eat for all of us, she would sit in the bedroom with Ma and Esther.  Both were ‘out of their heads’ didn’t know what they were doing, so had to be kept in bed and kept warm.

One night the dog started to howl right by the bedroom window.  I was scared and ran and stood by Mrs. Freese.  She was crying, so I cried also.  She took me on her lap and told me, “When a dog howls like that, someone is going to die.”  We said some prayers and she put me back in bed.  The next morning everyone was still alive, the fever broke and the danger of death from Flu was over in our house.  That was scary.

The fun part of the Flu was that Dad brought down all of the mattresses from the two beds upstairs and made beds for us on the dining room floor.  Boy did Lucina, Esther, Florence, and Verena, George and I have fun jumping, tumbling and turning somersaults on them.  Lucina was under the table and held her hands out to protect the table legs from getting scuffed.  That exercise must have helped us get over the flue with no aftereffects.  A number of people died in the community  All of my family survived, even if it did take Ma and Esther awhile to complete recover.”

Elsewhere in the memories of the family, it is reported that a hired man was killed in the war; that those of German ancestry (including my grandparents and many others in the community) were suspect because of their ancestry – many spoke German as first language at home.


I include the WWII statue of Iwo Jima (above) for a reason related to World War I.

Recently my brother John and I were at the Marine Core training facility in San Diego, where we and other family members attended the graduation of my grandson, Spencer, from boot camp.

We were walking to the car, and came across Haiti Avenue, which reminded me of the U.S. occupation of Haiti, 1915-34.  This is a little known fact, but one worth bring to the surface on this day.

Probably the most well known writing about the U.S. involvement in this war was written by Marine General Smedley Butler, whose duty included the occupation of Haiti.  I will let him tell his own opinion, here.

At MCRD, San Diego, Oct 12, 2018

Whatever your choice, Sunday, Armistice Day or Veterans Day, keep in mind that war is a very bad option.  I hope my grandson never has to use military skills, anywhere, any time.


from Jeff: We are attending the opera “Silent Night” at the Ordway on Sunday, the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice.

Marines: congrats on the graduation of Spencer,  I know that is an

Marines: From the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli, we defend our countries honor……

Thanks for reminding me as the famous words of the Marine anthem do, the military used to aggrandize and in Tripoli to protect American commerce.   The Halls of Montezuma refers to the completely
Imperialist Mexican War… the fulfillment of Manifest Destiny.   White
Protestant America destined to expand and conquer the Catholics and heathen native americans.   Said expansion particularly to expand slavery.  It was another spark to ignite the Civil War.    Also look into the desertion and insubordination of several Irish brigades in the Army.  This helped set off the anti Catholic and “Know Nothing” movement in the 1840’s and 1850’s.   The Irish at that time , arriving in droves from the Potato Famine , were the first major immigration wave which also was not Protestant.

2 replies
  1. Jane Peck
    Jane Peck says:

    My recent script and show was about How Ww1 and the flu epidemic affected our little town of Lanesboro in SE Mn. The Norwegians in this area were discriminated against as though they were Germans.
    Did you know that by 1917 French, Germans, and Russians were all defecting from the armies en masse? They were more sane than the rest.

    • dickbernard
      dickbernard says:

      Thank you. Yes, patriotism is a very odd and often dangerous thing. Somebody needs to be found who is the enemy…. It is useful to the unscrupulous “leader” for awhile, but very destructive.


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