Veterans’ Day, you know, was originally Armistice Day, to mark the end of the “War to end all Wars” (aka The Great War, aka World War I—which implies, of course, that there was a World War II, and thus you see that it did not, sadly, live up to its original name). Armistice Day was declared in a 1938 Act of Congress to celebrate the cause of world peace, but was renamed Veterans Day in 1954 following the greatest mobilization of our military forces.
Today, if you have the day off, enjoy it. Let us honor those who have devoted their lives. But may Veterans Day moreover serve as a reminder to be a bit nicer to people, to give them the benefit of the doubt. It is no more true than with our nation’s military men and women that we do not fully understand what they have seen and felt. And in general, there is little that feels worse than judging someone, only to later find out something that makes you regret doing so. So err on the side of compassion, and in this way, we can as individuals promote the peace that this day originally intended us to do.