Friday, November 11, 2016

Veteran's Day - Armistice Day - Remembrance Day

I missed putting something up yesterday for the Marines' birthday on the 10th. So here's a little something for Veteran's Day today and a belated best-wishes to the Corps. 

This was a year or two ago at the Costa Mesa Highland Games (these days called Scots Fest  or Scottish Fest).  The pipes are the L.A. Scots playing with the 3d Marine Aircraft Wing Band.

For Armistice Day:

11 November 1918.
... the grim business of war itself went on as usual, right up to 11 a.m., and, at one or two points along the line, even beyond. Thus a captain commanding an English cavalry squadron which took the Belgian village of Erquelinnes wrote that morning:
"At 11.15 it was found necessary to end the days of a Hun machine-gunner on our front who would keep on shooting. The armistice was already in force, but there was no alternative. Perhaps his watch was wrong but he was probably the last German killed in the war—a most unlucky individual!" 
Elsewhere on the British front an officer commanding a battery of six-inch howitzers was killed at one minute past eleven—at which his second-in-command ordered the entire battery to go on firing for another hour against the silent German lines. 
But generally, any firing still going on ended on the last second of the tenth hour, sometimes with droll little ceremonies—as on the British front near Mons, where another and more fortunate German machine-gunner blazed off his last belt of ammunition during the last minute of the war and then, as the hour struck, stood up on his parapet, removed his steel helmet, bowed politely to what was now the ex-enemy opposite, and disappeared. 
The British division on whose front that little incident took place had lost, during that one final week of the war, two officers killed and twenty-six wounded, and among the other ranks one hundred and seventeen killed, six hundred and ninety-three wounded and sixty-one missing. Small wonder that its historian recorded 'no cheering and very little outward excitement' as peace came.
--Gordon Brook-Shepherd, from The Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes