Armistice Day 100 Years Later

World War 1
World War 1 Memorial Statue

November 11, 2018 was the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War, aka World War 1. You and I know it better as Veteran’s Day.

Veteran’s Day exists on November 11 because of Armistice Day in 1918. The “war to end all wars,” as it was then called, didn’t accomplish the task of ending wars.

In fact, many who have studied WW1 conclude that the terms of Germany’s surrender planted the seeds for the next, and even larger, conflict two decades later.

Be that as it may, it is proper and right to remember the First World War in all its history and the sacrifices it entailed.

How Did the Great War Happen?

The incident which sparked the conflict was the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand and his wife in July of 1914. Ferdinand was the heir to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian empire and he was shot to death by a Serbian nationalist.

World War 1
Statue of Kaiser Wilhelm

This swiftly developed politically until Austria-Hungary sent untenable demands to Serbia as a response to the killing of the Archduke. Austria-Hungary was supported by German Kaiser Wilhelm’s forces, while Serbia was backed by Russia.

With assurance from Wilhelm that they would support Austria-Hungary with their military might, they declared war on Serbia on July 28, 1914.

Within a week, Russia, Belgium, France, Great Britain and Serbia had lined up against Austria-Hungary and Germany, and World War I had begun.

The “allies” formed the group headed by Russia at the time. The “central powers,” of Germany and Austria-Hungary were soon joined by the Ottoman Empire and these formed the opposing nations for the bulk of the war.

Fighting In The Trenches

A defeat of German forces at the First Battle of the Marne in Western Europe began the bloody campaign of ‘trench warfare’ which decimated forces on both sides. The Germans had hoped for a quick victory in that battle which took place only 30 miles from Paris.

However, French and British forces pushed the German Army back until the lines stabilized north of the Aisne River in France.

The defeat meant the end of German plans for a quick victory in France. Both sides dug into trenches, and the Western Front was the setting for a hellish war of attrition that would last more than three years.

World War 1
Drawing of French Soldiers at Verdun

Fighting in the trenches during WW1 was a hellish exercise. Combatants on both sides suffered weeks of exposure to all the elements, and a new disease called ‘trench foot’ inflicted thousands.

 

 

 

 

Trench foot, or immersion foot syndrome, is a serious condition that results from your feet being wet for too long. The condition first became known during World War I, when soldiers got trench foot from fighting in cold, wet conditions in trenches without the extra socks or boots to help keep their feet dry. Trench foot killed an estimated 2,000 American and 75,000 British soldiers during WWI.

The trench-warfare casualties went beyond disease alone. The long battles left mountains of dead soldiers from both sides.

Particularly long and costly battles in this campaign were fought at Verdun (February-December 1916) and the Battle of the Somme (July-November 1916). German and French troops suffered close to a million casualties in the Battle of Verdun alone.

When I first read about the length of the Battle of Verdun I was stunned that it lasted almost a full year! It is difficult to even imagine the level of carnage and suffering produced by just this one battle of the unprecedented Great War.

The Dawn of Modern Warfare

Much of what we now take for granted as part of war made the first appearances in WW1. For example, the fearsome flamethrower made its debut during the war.

Tanks were first used during the battles of the Great War. Here was an armored juggernaut that could move rapidly and rain explosive devastation upon the enemy.

Inset.3.11.13.2018The first combat using airplanes was seen on the European battlefields of WW1. Bombs were dropped by hand on targets, while bullets were fired by rifles from the cockpits of biplanes and triplanes.

With the advent of air power also came the first appearance of aircraft carriers at sea. These floating platforms eventually replaced the battleship and remain vital even today.

Chemical warfare was introduced and gas masks were first used to counter it during the fighting. Terrible concoctions such as mustard gas inflected horrible, lingering death throughout the war.

America Breaks the Stalemate

Americans were uninterested in participating in WW1 under Woodrow Wilson’s isolationst policies. The official American entry did not occur until April 2, 1918 after multiple sinkings of American ships by Germany.

Though the war had been raging for almost four years, the conflict was basically a stalemate until the United States joined the fray. Russia had already withdrawn because of the Bolshevik revolution in 1917 and signed a peace agreement with Germany.

World War 1
Wounded American in France, 1918

American military forces filled the void left by Russia, and the allies began making swift gains and pushing the enemy back in all areas. By the fall of 2018, most of Germany’s allies in the “central forces” were ready to give up.

The Turks from the crumbling Ottoman Empire signed a peace treaty with the Allies in October, followed on November 4 by the remains of Austria-Hungary. Finally the Germans threw in the towel and the hostilities ended with the signing of the Armistice on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

The Treaty of Versailles

The official end of WW1 was with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on June 28, 1919. Germany was allowed almost no voice in the negotiation of the treaty, and was severely punished for its part in the war.

The boundaries of Germany were redrawn and they were assigned to pay war reparations to the Allies. They were also effectively disarmed by being restricted to a small army and only able to possess certain types of weapons.

World War 1
Palace of Versailles

 

 

Another result of the Treaty was the creation of a new League of Nations, which Germany was prohibited from joining until 1926. These and other crippling financial penalties were placed on Germany

The German government signed the treaty under protest. Right-wing German parties attacked it as a betrayal, and terrorists assassinated several politicians whom they considered responsible.

Moreover, the Treaty itself was not approved buy the U.S. Senate as they believed its restrictions were overly harsh. Indeed, Versailles created a growing resentment within Germany which allowed the initial rise of Hitler to the Chancellory in 1933, and WWII six years later.

Why It Matters to Remember

There were more than 16 million casualties during WWI. Destruction of such magnitude demands that we understand what went wrong and how to avoid this abomination.

The Great War has many important lessons for us 100 years later. Lessons we must continue to learn in each generation if we are not to repeat the horrors of that age.

Lessons about the inherent error and immorality of empires. Empires become infected with expansion by force, and wars are then inevitable.

Lessons about how to treat a defeated foe. The rise of National Socialism in Germany might likely have not come about if the victors would not have sought revenge.

I pray that we have learned enough in the past century to remain free and peacefully deal with those who oppose liberty. However, the final lesson among many of WWI was that we must always be prepared for those who will bring war to us, because it really wasn’t “the war to end all wars.”

So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.  For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. James 2:12-13 [ESV]

D.T. Osborn

Sources: The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, Crossway Bibles, 2001

Top Image courtesy of Rudiger Stehn’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 1 courtesy of Rudiger Stehn’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 2 courtesy of Charles W. Bailey’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 3 courtesy of Bernard Spragg. NZ’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 4 courtesy of Reeve 10795’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image 5 courtesy of Chris Goldberg’s Flickr page – Creative Commons License

All other sources linked or cited in the text

First published in TIL Journal

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Let the Heavens Dance

Let the Heavens Dance Cover

Ascending into the heavens, high above the moon and stars, I can hear my Father, at a glance, calling out your name. The crowd forms and I mingle amongst them searching for the only one who’s ever truly loved me. An orchestra of harps and violins sway like palms on a sunset beach as night falls. There are so many welcoming faces, but I am only looking for just one.

Enjoy this touching song, Dancing in the Sky, sung by Danielle and Elizabeth Nelson!

I reminisce with the earthly tunes I once sang, and memories become a glimpse in time for they were before God called us to be with Him. Everyone looks so beautiful and healthy! They smile at me and file in one-by-one. But I stagger and stumble as though lost. Please, dear Lord, lead me to my heaven sent Angel. I prayed you to make us whole again. This is the grand finale where we will dance a lifetime together. I never quite learned to dance, but I knew it was you, God, who led me to her.

The night is young, becoming a reunion of old friends and relatives shaking hands and exchanging hugs. But, discontentedly my eyes wandered in the dimly lit plateau of heaven. The maître D, in His best dressed-whites, asked if He could help me. I bowed down before Him. He gently placed His hand under my chin and raised my head to face Him. On one knee, I pleaded, “My Lord, have you seen the one I adored?”

Let the Heavens Dance Pic 1

He rubbed His chin, thinking for a moment. He knew exactly who I meant, for He heard my heart beating loudly. An amazing smile broke across His face, and He said, “Look behind you! She, too, has searched for you for a very long time.”

We serve an awesome Lord, a caretaker of sorts, as He guards His Father’s place in heaven. It is a house, I pray, you and I will dwell someday. But for now, let us dance in the shadows, under the moonlight, reflecting on the place we first met. God promised, eventually, we’d be together forever so let the heavens dance for us for it’s true!
———————————————————————————————————–
EDITOR’S NOTES:
Heaven – what a beautiful place it will be if we keep a strong faith in Jesus. On earth, it isn’t about being a good person (ethical, going to church, or praying); instead, it’s living a holy life and atoning the death of Jesus of Christ. How can we accomplish this feat? It is done by developing an intimate relationship with the Lord, repenting of our sins and never repeating them, and believing Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Salvation is by grace, through faith. All you have to do is receive it!

Let the Heavens Dance verse


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Trouble makers, Please!

Trouble l-makers, please,
Leave peace-lovers alone;
They want to enjoy
Their peace;
Cheaters, please,
You are trouble-makers;
By cheating,
You create trouble,
Can you stop cheating
And creating trouble?
Peace lovers want
To enjoy peace in peace.
Unjust, crocket people,
Stop your injustice!
You are creating trouble;
Greedy people
You are making trouble;
Stop spoiling our world;
Over-ambitious people,
Your ambition is harmful;
Causing so much trouble;
Can you moderate?
Please, pipe down;
Allow the peace lovers
To enjoy their peace.
Trouble makers, please.

I slept like a log

I slept like a log of wood;
I slept like never before;
I slept like a fool;
I slept without turning sides;
I slept till dawn;
I slept till I could no more.

There are days when you go to bed and sleep soundly till morning and days when you go to bed and sleep badly.

Always thank God when you are blessed with sound sleep. Do not take it for granted.

Thank God for peace that offers us the opportunity to sleep soundly at night.

Thank God for all blessings. They are a gift from God. Thank him for them. And pray for more blessings.

How was your sleep this night? Did you sleep soundly? Have you thanked God for your night?

If it was not the best night, thank God for the little you had. Take note that it could have been worse.

Pray for peace, so that we can sleep soundly.

Pray for peace, so that we may go about our work freely and with joy.

Pray for peace, so that after a successful day’s work, you may go to bed and sleep soundly.

I encourage you to cultivate the habit of gratitude and appreciation.

Appreciating the good that comes your way and thanking those responsible for it is a worthwhile thing to do.

Inoculate Hate

 

Inoculate Hate cover

At this moment, let’s imagine what the world would be like if we could inoculate hate and evil from the earth. Think of the lives we could save! A world where everyone would live together; no fathom, no harm, only living as one. We would be a racism of human beings, protecting and loving each other, no matter the country or color of skin.

Let us pray so….

Envision going to God’s temple on Sunday, and the Ten Commandments proudly stood in the vestibule by the gold shovel at the door. There’d be no need to claim a religious doctrine for only Jesus would minister to thousands of parishioners who’d attend church every Sunday morning.

Let us pray so….

Could it ever be where harmony would spread instead of wildfires, and we looked upon a friend as a brother in Christ? We’d unite to build a better way of life. The homeless would merely be those whose homes are under construction. Our infants would never fear for their last meal – even in Africa and other destitute areas of the world where hope is nonexistent. We could organize a Million Man March for natural disaster victims.

Let us pray so….

Wars for lies untold would be a thing of the past. Languages would be the only barrier the world has ever known. Unity in faith, as God perceived, would be heavenly. One God, one religion, one human race gathered together as one heart, one soul and mind trying to help each other. We could wipe our brows knowing we tried our best.

Let us pray so….

City streets would be ready for tomorrow, and the manicured lawns would welcome visitors. Locks on doors will be for Satan’s evil spirits who will all but give up his ghostly image.

Let us pray so….

What a wonderful world we will share when God inoculates hate in the world! Christians, let the happy word spread – this WILL be our heaven one day with Jesus!

Let us pray so….

~~www.danabicksauthor.com~~

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No unhealthy competition

man running at marathon event
Photo by Luka Siemionov on Pexels.com
Stop that competition!
Too much competition
We have among us;
Too much competition
In the world;
Unhealthy competition;
Why are we always competing?
When soon we become rivals;
Rivalry leads to animosity;
And then to outright hate;
Can you see what comes next?
Conflict.
people running during daytime
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Where there is hatred,
There is conflict;
And hostility;
The next thing,
The wars and killings
That are rocking the world;
Something needs to be done;
What do you think?
Instead of competition,
Let us try collaboration;
Instead of rivalry,
Let us have co-operation
Instead of animosity or hate,
Let us promote love;
Instead of conflict and wars,
Let us sue for peace.
beach calm clouds coconut trees
Photo by Ibrahim Asad on Pexels.com

Making The Bed

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This is my bed. It is a black metal futon frame with a Full size mattress on it. The futon came with a typical futon mattress and for over two years I slept on the futon mattress (though I added a foam eggshell mattress topper).

Realized several years ago my mental health is going down the tubes when my kitchen gets to be a mess. The kitchen is the one room in the house I need to have clean. I can have piles of papers and clean and dirty clothes but if there are piles of dishes in the sink and the stove is not wiped off then something is wrong.

More recently I have discovered how much making my bed affects my mental state. My grandmother used to always make her bed. She made mine too, and tried to get me to make my own bed when I was old enough. My grandparent’s bed had a bed skirt and everything. It was a Queen size bed. Box Spring, mattress,  and a wooden headboard.  The Headboard matched the dresser and both were given to my grandparent’s as a gift from some of the parishioners of one of the Churches Grandfather served.

My grandmother had a hand embroidered Quilt Set. It was white with a blue cornflower motif. The bed skirt, top quilt, and several throw pillows made up the set. She would make the bed as most people do.  Fitted sheet, Top sheet, light cover (made for sleeping) and the decorative cornflower top quilt (not made for sleeping). She would finish it off with the decorative pillows.

Yeah, that isn’t me.  I learned from grandfather how to make hospital corners. My first job was a housekeeper at a Days Inn. So I made plenty of beds….not necessarily my own. For a long time even sleeping with any type of sheet on the bed was a hit or miss. I don’t do Top sheets at all. I was staying at friend’s house and her parents had a sleeper sofa. To make it more comfortable her mom had put one of the crushed velveteen blankets under the fitted sheet. Then the Top sheet and the sleeping cover. No need for a decorative quilt on a sleeper sofa. Without the use of my CPAP I run marathons in my sleep. I turn to one side and then the other. One time I did a complete 180 in my bed and woke up where my feet had been when I went to sleep the night before. Anyway, the next day when my friend’s mom went to strip and remake the bed we discovered I had not only bunched up the top sheet under the cover but I had somehow manage to strip the velveteen blanket under the fitted sheet without removing the fitted sheet.

At this point in my life my bedding consist of a fitted sheet, the blanket you see on the bed in the photo and three body pillows–with pillow casings (another non consistent item in my bed making).  I added the only two throw pillows I have left which I care about. The Hello Kitty one I found while touring an empty apartment. It was in a really high cabinet which may or may not have had a rifle in it as well. The realtor agent never told me. The second throw pillow is in the color and has the House Crest of my favorite House in Harry Potter: Slytherin. The pillow was hand embroidered by a friend of mine who loves Harry Potter as much (or even more) than I do.

While my bed is simple to make, the act of making it, and of laundering sheets, pillowcases, and cover one a month or as needed, gives me sense of peace and order; starting my day off on the right note.

My suggestion to anyone who feels out of control or anxiety ridden or in a bad place mentally is to find the “making your bed” thing to help you through, to get you back on track. It might be journaling when you first wake up, or having a cup of coffee, or walking, or it make actually be making your bed. Whatever it is, having one thing which helps all the other things in life move easier through day is invaluable.

Peace and security

Peace and security,
A rare commodity
In today’s world;
Peace and security,
To be taken seriously;
Peace and security,
Everywhere threatened;
Peace and security,
When shall we again
Know you?
Peace and security,
We live not in peace
But in fear;
Peace and security,
Insecurity, the order
Of the day;
Peace and security,
Where are you?
Peace and security,
We cry for you.

Opposite twins

The twin enemies;
Who go together;
Are opposite twins;
One is good;
The other is bad;
One is light;
The other is dark;
One brings peace;
The other brings war.
Do you know them?
Who are they?
I can tell you:
One is Love;
The other Hate;
Love and Hate;
Always together;
Travel side by side;
Are staunch enemies;
They never mix.
Permanently at war;
Fighting each other.
If Love goes,
The world will go;
If Hate goes,
The world will stay.
That is our world;
A love/hate world.

Like a Dry Sponge

There are days when I feel empty, rudderless, and godless. At moments I can feel so completely sure of a Higher Power working in my life, and other times I feel terror, like I’m fumbling, lost, a child in a grown-up world.

At those uninspired times, I need to break it down real simple. As long as I don’t take a drink or drug, there is hope in my life. When I get confused, I remember that AA is my spiritual path. Part of that spiritual path is to seek through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with Spirit.

I had a profound experience during meditation recently. I had been feeling completely drained, exhausted, like my skin was a collection of raw nerves. I remembered to take quiet time and sit in meditation.

I started off with my usual mindfulness meditation app. But when the app ended, I remained sitting in silence. Then  I felt, with each breath, that I was drawing up energy from the core of the Earth. I was soaking up energy like a dry sponge soaks up water. Immersed in Spirit, I drank until my nerves were calm, my mind was at peace, and I felt renewed.

Just remembering that feeling helps me at this moment feel “OK.” We are still unsure of where we will be living a month from now. There are so many pros and cons of every house we have looked at. I don’t trust my own judgement. I know that if you give me 5 possibilities, on my own I will pick the worst possible situation.

I do not know what will happen next month, next week, or even later today. I have to trust that there is as energy above and throughout that guides me… when I keep my mind open and listen. As I prepare to go about my day, I must remember to stop, pray, and seek guidance in my every step and action.

**previously posted on my personal blog, I Am Many Things.**