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Even though this day has come to encompass all wars, it was originally intended to be the day commemorating the Big One. World War 1; the War to End All Wars. It was a day to commemorate the end of the one of the most devastating wars in Human history. At least it was at the time.
But there have been other wars, other conflicts, equally devastating and perhaps more brutal. So this day became a remembrance of all those wars. And even though in some countries it’s known as Remembrance Day or Armistice Day, here in the U.S. it’s become Veteran’s Day.
But in 1937, the remembrance of a day ended 19 years earlier was beginning to have a hollow ring to it. In 1937 conflicts were erupting – Japan had invaded China. Spain was enveloped in Civil War and the ominous saber rattling from a rejuvenated and militarized Nazi Germany was lurking in the wings. It was all looking too deadly and too familiar.
But on this day in 1937 it was still about World War 1. And this broadcast, a collaboration between the CBC in Canada and The Mutual Broadcasting System in the U.S., commemorated the day with an observance by both the Canadian and American armies, with military bands and marching; cheering crowds and alliances. The waving of flags and assurances a war such as the one ended 19 years earlier would never happen again.
And in less than two years, it would happen over again with the outbreak of World War 2. The remembrance and the commemoration and the assurances evaporated, until November 11, 1945 when the assurances and commemoration would begin again, only now with the ending of a devastating and brutal new war just finished, to remember.
And on and on it goes.
Here, as way of reminder and irony, is that broadcast from November 11, 1937 as presented by the CBC and Mutual Broadcasting.