ADDRESS TO FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN The White House, November 11, 1919.
A year ago today our enemies laid down their arms in accordance with an armistice which rendered them impotent to renew hostilities, and gave to the world an assured opportunity to reconstruct its shattered order and to work out in peace a new and juster set of international relations. The soldiers and people of the European Allies had fought and endured for more than four years to uphold the barrier of civilization against the aggressions of armed force. We ourselves had been in the conflict something more than a year and a half.
With splendid forgetfulness of mere personal concerns, we remodeled our industries, concentrated our financial resources, increased our agricultural output, and assembled a great army, so that at the last our power was a decisive factor in the victory. We were able to bring the vast resources, material and moral, of a great and free people to the assistance of our associates in Europe who had suffered and sacrificed without limit in the cause for which we fought.
Out of this victory there arose new possibilities of political freedom and economic concert. The war showed us the strength of great nations acting together for high purposes, and the victory of arms foretells the enduring conquests which can be made in peace when nations act justly and in furtherance of the common interests of men.
To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.
I wrote the novelette, War Springs Eternal, to help us all understand what the effects of war can do to someone. I chose to set it in WW1, because it was after that war in which the origins of Veterans Day are found.
On the battlefield of that war, my main character makes an observation, his statement sums up what war does to a person —
“I am no longer the boy who came here, nor am I the man I was destined to be.”
— military service changed us, those who saw combat, it changed most of all.
The period of my life in which I have the greatest amount of pride is the
five year span I served in the United States Navy. It was a period of time in which there was relative peace in the world. There were no major conflicts, and my country, nor I, was at war, however, we were perpetually ready. We did not serve a president, or a congress, or a supreme court — we served an ideal founded centuries ago.
I remain honored and proud to have served that ideal.
War Springs Eternal, is dedicated to my brothers and sisters in arms –
-To those who were asked to do the unthinkable.
-To those who HAD to do the unimaginable.