Peace To End All Wars And Plowshares To End All Our Swords

Published 4:30 pm Thursday, November 11, 2010

The death of World War I-the war to end all wars-gave birth to what would become Veterans Day, which we observed this week to honor those who have fought, and are fighting, on our behalf.

And those who paid the supreme sacrifice-their lives.

In Afghanistan and Iraq, American troops serve us more than nine decades after the “war to end all wars” concluded with an armistice that took effect on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, which is why Veterans Day is November 11, spun by the original Armistice Day in 1918.

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That small constellation of elevens shone on an hour on a day in a month whose light we all wish would have lasted far longer than it did. But human nature breeds conflict like mushrooms in a forest. As long as there are humans on Earth there will likely be conflict, whether declared as war or not.

The word “armistice” comes from two Latin words-arma, which means weapons, and statium, which means stopping.

Weapons stopping.

What a peaceful thought.

Swords into plowshares.

But never forever.

Weapons only stop when we stop using them and our plowshares are too quickly beaten back into the shapes of swords, the plowing lasting a season or two if we are lucky, before other seeds are planted, a dread harvest rippling in the wind.

For those who hold the weapons we give them, honor is earned and due. In full measure.

They are our shield. We owe them what we cannot repay, though we must try, as a nation, to meet that obligation, to the best of our mortal abilities, on their behalf.

Our challenge, on behalf of us all but especially those to whom we have given our swords, is to extend the season and the harvest of plowshares.

From here to eternity, we must keep trying.