"On the eleventh hour if the eleventh day if the eleventh month" the guns went silent, and the First World War came to an end. This war was so very horriblle that it was supposed that it would put an end to war. That was a wrong-headed notion.
I don't know who wrote the ballad "Willie McBride", but I will excerpt it here and hope that in the event the song is still under copyright the author will forgive me for citing these lyrics:
Oh, how are ye doin', young Willie McBride,
Do ye mind if I sit down here by your brave side?
And rest here and look at the red settin' sun;
I been walkin' all day,
And I feel like I'm done.
And I see by your headstone you were only 19
When ye died in the service o' your Country and Queen,
Well I hope ye died quick,
An' I hope ye died clean;
Or Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene?
Did they play the fife lowly,
Did they bang the drums slowly,
Did the rifles fire o'er ye, as they lower'd ye down?
Did the band play "The Last Post" in chorus?
Did the pipes play "The Fleur o' the Forest?"
And now I must ask ye, brave Willie McBride,
Do all those who rest here now know why they died?
Did ye really believe in the Truth of the Cause?
Did ye really believe, that this War would end wars?
For the bravery and the glory,
The suffering and shame,
The killing and the dying,
It was all done in vain.
For Willie McBride, it's all happened again;
And again, and again, and again, and again.
And so it has, human nature being what it is; and brave men will always be called upon to answer the threat to freedom. My fellow Veterans, this day is ours, and especially to those who saw the face of the enemy. Bless you on this Veteran's Day and always; and thank you for your service to our Republic.