Green Room

The Eleventh Hour

posted at 12:58 am on November 11, 2009 by

On the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month of 1918, the terrible slaughter of the First World War came to a formal conclusion. The day we now commemorate as Veterans Day is the quintessential heartland holiday, growing to honor all of America’s veterans at the urging of a shoe store owner in Kansas, in the early Fifties. Over the century since a Serbian assassin’s bullet ignited a global conflagration that blasted and burned fifteen million casualties, the West has learned it is very good at war, but still having trouble dealing with peace. One of the reasons is that we often forget to render proper honor and respect to our soldiers.

American soldiers are not just the guardians of peace… they are its architects. They build it with the invisible bricks of atrocities that did not occur, because the murderers were sensibly afraid of tangling with them. They add the mortar of countless acts of kindness and mercy, performed in war zones and disaster areas. The elites of the Third World learn about America by watching CNN. Many of their people see their first American flag riding on the shoulder of a uniformed man or woman carrying relief supplies, or a medical kit. Some of those poor people have taken bullets from their countrymen, and been dragged to safety by United States soldiers who don’t hesitate to do the right thing, even when that American flag becomes a target. No wonder the people of the world generally like us more than their elites.

It is possible to achieve the peace that pacifists dream of, through disarmament and capitulation. This is the peace of subjugation, the peace of the grave. It secures the comfort of the elite, by allowing aggressors to make endless war on their citizens. It is a peace that burns hot and rancid in the bowels of a nation, leaving it unable to meet the gaze of those it abandoned to tyranny. Soldiers are the only reason you can have peace and freedom.

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of 2009, the wounded of Fort Hood will remember their fallen friends, and wonder how a man wrapped in enough red flags to turn him into a bloody mummy was allowed to infiltrate their base. Those wounded and dead rely upon us to ask the questions their superiors in the chain of command cannot comfortably answer. Calling the injured and dead of Fort Hood “victims” perpetuates the blindness that compelled those men and women to face the enemy unarmed. They are casualties of war… and as far as I’m concerned, Sergeant Kimberly Munley, who took their cowardly attacker down, is a veteran today.

The terrorist enemy doesn’t have a formal chain of command that can sign an armistice, they don’t muster on clearly defined battlefields, and they’re quite happy to benefit from the efforts of deranged fanboys. If we don’t stand behind our professional soldiers, and give them the tools to do their jobs now, we will all become soldiers before this enemy is defeated.

Somewhere in the world tomorrow, an American soldier will ring in the eleventh hour of the eleventh day with gunfire. Another will arrive home after an honorable tour of duty, perhaps passing brothers and sisters in arms saying farewell to their families. A mother’s tears will fall on a letter from the far side of the world. Old veterans will spend a beautiful afternoon watching children play beneath the flag they raised at Anzio, Guadalcanal, Incheon, or Khe Sanh. Young veterans will put their lives on the line, to give the children of Iraq and Afghanistan a chance at a future free from murderous evil. A little girl will playfully salute a uniform she will one day grow up to wear. A pilot will land a machine that was impossible in his grandfather’s day on the heaving deck of an aircraft carrier. The USS New York will ride at anchor, close to the site of the fallen buildings whose bones became her steel.

The veterans of the United States military have always been there for us, in the desperate eleventh hour of our need. Share a thought, a hope, and a prayer with them tomorrow. If you can do even more, here is a list of charities that benefit soldiers and their families.

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