Friday, November 11, 2011

Veteran's Day 11/11/11

Today, we commemorate all of the men and women who have served our country in the military.  Formerly known as Armistice Day, Veteran's Day is celebrated on the anniversary of the signing of the armistice between the Allies and Germany:  On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month World War I, or the Great War as it was known back in 1918, officially ended.  (For a really poignant story set on Armistice Day, read the chapter "A Minute in the Morning" in Richard Peck's A Year Down Yonder.)

In February of this year the last American veteran of World War I, Frank Buckles, died on his farm in West Virginia.  Then in May, Brit Claude Choules, the last combat veteran of World War I, died.  Today, there is only one living veteran of World War I, Florence Green, a British woman who was a member of the Women's Royal Air Force.  In a world with far fewer people than today, more people--soldiers and civilians alike--were killed or maimed by combat and disease than in any other war.  Take a moment today to remember the Lost Generation of the War to End All Wars.

Woodrow Wilson had vowed to remain neutral when World War I began in 1914, and there was much debate as to whether the United States should become involved in the European conflict.  It wasn't until April of 1917 that the U.S. joined forces with the British.  Since World War I, Britain has been one of our staunchest allies.  Yet, America's first two wars (the American Revolution and the War of 1812) were fought against Britain.  Like the Civil War, the American Revolution pitted family members against each other.

My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christoher Collier, Scholastic Paperbacks, 2005 (originally published in 1974), 240 pages, ISBN:  0439783607

Johnny Tremain and Woods Runner present the American Revolution from the side of the Rebels, or Patriots, but My Brother Sam Is Dead depicts a story of a divided family:  The father is a loyal-to-the-crown Tory; his older son Sam has joined the rebellion, but Tim, his younger son, is confused and torn.  Like the boy in The Rock and the River, Tim must make a choice between what his father believes and what his older brother believes, and the more Tim sees of the conflict raging around him, the less sure he is.  He's been raised as a loyal subject of the crown, and his father and cousins have told him that the rebels don't stand a chance of beating the whole British army, but when he witnesses the British "Lobsterbacks" attack his town, Tim isn't so sure anymore.

1 comment:

  1. I liked this book too. It was interesting to see a character so conflicted and I thought it was well written. -T