Thursday, November 8, 2012

Veterans Day

Veterans Day is an official federal holiday that we observe on November 11. It marks the anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I—hostilities of that war were formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11 month in 1918.  Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans living and dead.

There are many books and movies at the library about “the war to end all wars” which was the catch-phrase given to World War I
J.M. Winter’s pictorial review, The Experience of World War I is a gripping chronicle of the war and its aftermath. The photographs and text were well-researched.
    Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August dramatizes August 1914. That month determined the course of the war, and that war “determined the shape of the world in which we live today.” (B. Tuchman)
    A slim volume by Stanley Weintraub is well worth reading, Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas Truce.
    All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque  is a timeless fiction classic of World War I Germany, but speaks to everyone about the horrors of war.
    A fairly new novel, The Return of Captain John Emmett by Elizabeth Speller, an historian, demonstrates that surviving a war is not necessarily surviving.  After returning home, Captain John Emmett descends into madness and is sent to a facility where difficult cases of shell shock are treated.  He commits suicide—or does he? His sister  is not sure and decides to find out why four other men in his regiment also died shortly after they came home.  Speller’s moving mystery debut has wide appeal.
    In the mood for a movie about World War I?  Try African Queen, Joyeux Noel, All Quiet on the Western Front, Random Harvest or In Love and War—all worth watching.

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