Editor's note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This will be given Nov. 11, 2018.
At dawn on the morning of Nov. 11, 1918, two railroad cars arrived in a remote forest outside Compiègne, France. One carried German military officers; the other, Allied commanders. They were gathering for a meeting that would make history. It was here that leaders of these two military forces signed an armistice — an agreement to end years of deadly conflict. At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, World War I was over.
More than 8 million people had been killed in battle, with millions more lost as civilian casualties. But with the armistice signed, there was hope that the Great War could truly be "the war to end all wars."
In recognition of this day of peace and hope, United States President Woodrow Wilson designated Nov. 11 as Armistice Day, which would later be renamed Veterans Day. "To us in America," he declared, "the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in their country's service and with gratitude for the victory."
Shortly after peace was declared, an American soldier, Ira Schubert, wrote to his girlfriend back home: "No doubt the people in the States went wild over the signing of the armistice. But you can't imagine the feelings of the boys who went through the hardships one encounters in a war-swept country. The only way they could celebrate the victory was to pat each other on the back and thank Almighty God that they survived the greatest ordeal man ever went through."
In 2018, the 100th anniversary of the armistice, we remember not just those who fought but what they fought for. Veterans of World War I are all gone now, and Ira Schubert was right — we may never really know what they went through. But we can thank Almighty God that they were willing to go through it.
We can continue to pay tribute to their courage. And we can ensure that their undaunted service and sacrifice set a standard that is forever remembered and revered.
Tuning in …
The “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160 AM/102.7 FM, ksl.com, KSL X-stream, BYU-TV, BYU Radio, BYU-TV International, CBS Radio Network, Dish Network, DirecTV, SiriusXM Radio (Channel 143) and on the Tabernacle Choir's website and YouTube channel. The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at musicandthespokenword.org.