When I was a child, November 11 was a day that could never be separated from the Great War. I can see clearly in my mind those columns of veterans marching with pride, despite that many had been broken in body and soul from that horrifically bloody conflict. We thought, at the time, that the Great War was destined to be a high-water mark of human martial misery. We now must call it World War I because an even greater death was soon visited upon Earth in the form of a second global conflict.

It is sad that the news of our current moment has overshadowed the memory of these brave men and the significance of this centennial commemoration of the armistice. I will not detour any longer here. We must remember, in the honor of all who served over a century ago, that war is hell — filled with savagery and suffering. The terror of frontline deployments and the sound of the shallow breaths of a dying soldier know all conflicts. They are sights and sounds I will never forget, much as the millions who served in the Great War were undoubtedly similarly haunted. I proudly saluted them then, as I still do now. They are of course long gone and with them countless stories of personal heroism and horror that no one else will ever know.