Yesterday was the birthday of the U.S. Marines Corps, and today is Veterans Day. The two are not directly related; Veterans day started out as Armistice Day, the day the peace was signed between Germany, Austria and the Allies during World War I--or, as it was known for many years, the Great War, the War To End All Wars. Well, it was one but not the other. I first learned about this connection while reading one of my favorite childhood series: The Lord Peter Whimsey Mysteries, by Dorothy Sawyers. They aren't really meant for children, and they're the most literary mysteries I've ever read, illuminating English society of the 20s and 30s as much as they explain poisons and autopsies. In The Unpleasantness At the Bellona Club
, we see the usually snappy gentlemen suddenly become serious as they observe the two minute silence in memory of the Great War dead at 11 o'clock.
It sounds silly, but I bet that my childish admiration for Lord Peter helped inform a bit of my deep respect for veterans. He's
not real, but I have no doubt that he was a composite of real men that Sawyers traded witty barbs with. War is an awful thing, and warriors are, finally, also just men and women.
Yesterday when I wished the Marines a Happy Birthday
, Michael raised some very good points in the comments
. I would like to respond to them at length, and thoughtfully. Today is certainly the day to do it, but I'm not sure I can right now. If I can, I will put them here, by updating this post. In the meantime, please read what Phillip Carter has written at Intel Dump