“Remember the wounded.” This is an excellent essay about the effects combat has on humans. Did you all pause for reflection at 11:00 yesterday? Living abroad, I’ve been surprised at the public support for Remembrance Day. Sure, we celebrate Veterans Day in America, but most folks just look at it as a day off. You might go to a cemetery if your grandpa was a soldier or something, but it’s not a big deal. In the UK and Australia it’s very different. Various veterans groups sell poppies on every street corner. People actually make a point of stopping what they’re doing at 11:00 to reflect. We don’t get the day off but in a way that’s good; it keeps the meaning from getting watered down. (We get ANZAC Day off in January and I’ve come to associate that day more with barbecues than memorializing the diggers.) It was just surprising to me how much more seriously the rest of the world takes the holiday, one that in the US didn’t mean a heck of a lot to me.

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  1. On our flight back yesterday (British Airways), out pilot came on to remind us about the 2 minute silence @ 11. The crew left the cabin to observe. I also bought some poppies while I was wandering around town. It really did seem to be taken much more seriously there than here.

  2. I suppose it could be because you guys were further from it than us. Though that does not explain Australia…

  3. A couple of sites I’ve read have suggested that the US is more serious about Memorial Day (in May) because it started after the Civil War. I guess that makes sense.

  4. I think the Brits take 11/11 more seriously because they were so much harder hit in WWI than we were in the US. I’m not as familiar with Austrailia’s history.

    Veteran’s day isn’t a recognized holiday at my office, and the only real visibility to me was the USPS observance (impacts my work) and some stories on the news shows.

  5. As far as Australia’s concerned, I think it was always pretty much “When Britain goes to war, Oz goes to war.” So they were probably hit just as hard.

  6. ANZAC day is actually April 25 – it commemorates the day Australian and New Zealand troops got slaughtered at Gallipoli in the first world war.
    The public holiday in January is Australia Day on the 26th – totally unrelated to war as Australia is one of the few nations founded in peaceful times, not off the back of a war.
    Australia does kind of have a “When Britain goes to war, Oz goes to war” attitude in case we ever need their help in return (see: Iraq) We’re only a little nation and have a VERY small army

  7. Whoops! Thanks for catching that, Kate. Australia Day in January; ANZAC Day in April. I’m still learning how to be an Aussie. 🙂

    Actually the statistic I find most startling was that Australia supported the US in every war of the 20th century. Not even Britain did that.

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