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The War To End Wars

July 2024
1min read

The incident that I should most like to have witnessed was in a small way one that I actually took part in—the Armistice Day celebrations of November 11, 1918. I wish I might have seen the surging crowds in the great cities, but I did live through that evening as an eight-yearold boy in a small Boston suburb, parading up and down the street with my friends in a kind of delirium, shouting, singing, waving whatever flags we could lay hands on. I remember I had a red British merchant marine flag. The Hun had been defeated, evil ground into the dust. Keep the World Safe for Democracy! The War to End Wars! Those were the slogans even children mouthed and believed in. There was a spontaneity to that first Armistice celebration that the twin victories of World War II lacked. I saw both the V-E and V-J celebrations in London and found them flaccid, contained, artificial. For one thing, we had to wait three days until officially allowed to celebrate. Nothing like the spontaneity of 1918. Yes, I wish I might have seen the great cities on the first Armistice night. Never again such confident belief.

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