On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the international disaster that was World War I officially ended. We continue to observe November 11th in the United States as a day to honor all of those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces in all the long periods of peace and terrible times of war since that first Armistice Day.
One of the most terrible scars on the twentieth century was World War II. Every year, we lose more of the brave soldiers, sailors, and aviators who served in that war.
Recently I attended an event at the Lyon Air Museum in Santa Ana, California. Several World War II aircraft and vehicles are lovingly displayed there.
There’s a B-25, the same type of aircraft used in the Doolittle bombing of Tokyo.
A B-17 Flying Fortress:
Even a 1939 Mercedes German military staff car used by Hitler and seized by the French Army at Berchtesgaden:
Being something of a map geek, one of my favorite displays was this map of U.S. Army Air Force deployments during World War II.
Having come along near the end of the baby boom era, I grew up on the stories of World War II. My parents married at the start of that war, and my mother followed my father all over the country to various training locations where he learned a mechanical specialty. Then one day, when they were stationed hundreds of miles from family and she was several months pregnant, he went off to work one morning and made a rare telephone call to say that he was being deployed and would not be returning home that day. As it turned out, it was three years before he came home. I traced his route from Northern Africa to Italy on this map.
The lack of communication of that era is almost unfathomable to us now, but military service still requires risk, sacrifice and courage. To our military veterans and their families, we salute you!
Images: Wikimedia, Dept. of Veterans Affairs, the Author