Skip to main content

In war and peace, honor those who serve the country

On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month 100 years ago on Sunday, the guns of World War I fell silent.

Nov. 11, 1918, was an historic day.

It was called Armistice Day.

That’s when the Allies, led by France, the United Kingdom and the United States, and the Central Powers, led by Germany, began to make peace.

The guns went quiet.

The Daily Mail online has an interesting recording of the sound at the battlefront heard from the American lines at that very moment in history.


Bombardment to bird song in just a few seconds.

Both of my grandfathers were in France at the time.

Were they present to hear this, too?

I don’t know, but it is possible.

Certainly they would have paused to think how lucky they were to have survived and how wonderful it would be to go home.

My Grandfather Harper had been wounded.

I still have the shrapnel and the Purple Heart passed down to me.

He came home on the U.S.S. Manchuria.

I have a photograph of the ship that had hung on the wall in my grandparents’ home.

I know the history.

General John J. Pershing led America’s armed forces in the trenches against Germany.

Millions of draftees went abroad in the War to End All Wars fought to make the world safe for democracy.

What I don’t know is much of the personal history.

My Grandfather Harper died the year before I was born.

My mother’s father died when I was 7 years old.

Nowadays, Nov. 11 is Veterans Day.

It honors all who have donned the uniform to serve their country.

My parents were old enough that they often slipped up and called it Armistice Day long after the name of the observance was changed.

My mother has a photograph of herself as a child back in the 1930s decorating the graves of servicemen.

It does not matter so much what you call Nov. 11 as long as you honor the many men and women who have put on the uniform to serve our country.

Honor them as we go about collecting the 1921-1935 Peace silver dollars inspired by the end of the conflict or the current World War I Centennial silver dollar.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017. He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."