Armistice Day. Remembrance Day. Poppy Day. Veteran’s Day.
They make us read in school all about the World Wars and their significance, but I believe that you do not fully understand these things until you are an adult. I was a history major in College and my husband was a history minor (his major was Chemistry…how do you like Chemistry and History? Beats me!). I say this because I have an interest in history, historical things, war, and remembering. I am not going to delve into anything historical, you can google and wikipedia your hearts out later if you’re interested, but I am going to say a couple things about today and what I think needs to be said.
While I was scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook I came across this picture and it got me to thinking…
We often do not remember the animals. I know the day is not supposed to be all about them but I believe they should be given a moment too. This last year, the movie War Horse came out and millions saw it. It started as a book by Michael Morpurgo and was also adapted into a play. It is the story of a farm horse who is sold and becomes a horse in the war zone during WWI; it is told through his eyes. I read the book but have still yet to see the movie. In the book, Joey, the main character-horse, sees his horse and human friends around him being killed or being worked to death. The sad fact is that millions of animals have given their lives in the line of duty too but they are not given the recognition of a soldier since most humans viewed them as animals which are solely there for their usefulness. I think the book and I assume movie have at least given a glimpse of how the animals fared during WWI when horses were still being used to haul wounded soldiers, guns and other equipment and supplies.
The caption of this picture that I saw on Facebook said, “This Nov. 11th, please don’t forget the 4-legged war heroes who had no choice. 1+million horses lost their lives in WWI.” The page I got this from was one of the horsey ones I follow, so I shared the picture and gave it my own little comment. I said that this picture makes a good point. Don’t forget the 4-legged war heroes! Horses as well as dogs!
In WWI, the use of horses was really in a transition period in warfare. Horses were still being used but the evolution of fighting tactics, weapons, and machines were all but making the horse become obsolete. Horses are not as much of a part of the fighting world now a days but dogs are still being used to this day by the military and police forces. Think about the bomb sniffing dogs. Here is a good little photo essay that I found when I was looking for a picture to add.
In looking for the sources of the horse picture above, I stumbled upon a great article that was written in 2007 and published in Britain. I recommend it to you. In it is a caption to a picture of a poppy field: “Lest we forget: Generals list the soldiers that were killed in battle. Few have ever troubled to mention the horses which perished in the service of their victories.”
I say these things about the horses and dogs but my intentions are not to detract from the original purpose of this day. It started as “Armistice Day,” a day to remember the signing of the armistice that ended WWI, but has changed over the years to honor all of the veterans that have fought and served, becoming “Veteran’s Day.”
I have many friends and family members who are currently serving and who have served. My husband is in the Navy, my dad was in the Air Force, my Grandpa retired from the Navy and was in during WWII, the other grandpa in the Army during WWII, my father-in-law just retired from the Navy, Andrew’s grandpa Buddy was in the Coast Guard, my uncle was in the Army, and my cousin is in the Navy. As I said, my purpose is not to detract from the day celebrating them and all the other veterans of past wars but to also honor the animals who did their own fighting in the wars.
One last parting link. I found this and could not figure out where to stick this into my post so here it is. This person put together a wonderful post about Veteran’s Day and the history with pictures. Please check it out!
I know today was more of an historical musing than about puppy adventures or entertainment, but I think it was quite fitting. I am sure Gwen will be okay giving up the spot light for a day in honor of others who have fought for our freedom. 😉
EDIT: Seems like I missed a couple family members when I made this. That has been corrected now. 🙂