In honor of Veterans Day and St. Martin’s day, both of which are commemorated tomorrow, I am reprinting this post from last year.
Armistice and St. Martin
Today, we pause to remember the veterans. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the guns of the first world war fell silent in armistice. War that had entangled the world because of a series of diplomatic treaties forever changed the landscape of the European fields and trenches that the war was fought in, but also the psyche of humanity. Pages could be written alone on the war and its remembrance, but I’d also like to talk about something else today.
It is also St. Martin’s Day, a holiday that is still celebrated in Germany through the creation of lanterns, a parade led by a man on a horse, and the eating of sugar pretzels beside a bonfire. So, who exactly was St. Martin? He was a Roman soldier who tore his cloak to give half of it to an old beggar man on the street. St. Martin and veterans have much in common. St. Martin shared his cloak with the beggar in need, laying down his comfort and his warmth as the soldier set aside his own comfort in the trenches and the fields. A sacrifice laid down for another is a mark of both St. Martin and the soldier. St. Martin’s day lanterns will line the streets of Germany tonight and candles, a flame of hope and remembrance, is lit in tribute to those who have gone before. Perhaps, the greatest act of remembrance to veterans and in honor of St. Martin is to reach out our hand to those in need, even in small everyday acts of kindness.
My best to you all,