Although Veteran's Day has been officially marked on the American calendar since 1926, it wasn't until I lived in France that I realized why November 11th was the day chosen to honor our veterans. I was riding a bus in Lyon when I spotted a street named "11 november 1918." I knew World War I had ended in 1918, but until that moment, I hadn't realized that the 11th day of the 11th month marked the end of the fighting. I'm grateful that the French name their streets after historic dates and persons. There's beauty in preserving knowledge in such a publicly visible way.
This Veteran's Day, I can't think of this day without also recalling images from a project called The Fallen 9000. This last September, nonprofit organization Peace One Day collaborated with Sand in Your Eye, a British company specializing in sand and ice sculptures, to mark Peace Day. Together they organized hundred of volunteers from around the world to stencil and rake the sand of Arromanches in Normandy, each image representing one of the 9,000 soldiers and civilians who lost their lives on D-Day. (9,000 is the conservative estimate rounded down to the nearest thousand.) Here are some images of their efforts:
I'm grateful to the volunteers who travelled the globe to remind us of the sacrifices made that day and to make such a statement for peace.
I'm also extremely grateful to my grandfathers and father who served in the Air Force, Army, and Navy during the conflicts of WWII and the Korean War, as well as in peacetime. Their legacy sets an example of courage and commitment. May we continue to collectively remember veterans worldwide.