In the United States, Veterans Day annually falls on November 11, the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I hostilities between the Allied nations and Germany in 1918. The so-called Great War took a terrible toll on the nations involved. It decimated a generation of young men in Europe, left towns in ruins, and starkly brought home the horrors of conflict. The world had never before seen the number of casualties that were a consequence of the fighting. The History Learning Site reports that those casualties included:
Britain: 750,000 soldiers killed; 1,500,000 wounded
France: 1,400,000 soldiers killed; 2,500,000 wounded
Belgium: 50,000 soldiers killed
Italy: 600,000 soldiers killed
Russia: 1,700,000 soldiers killed
America: 116,000 soldiers killed
Those who had fought against the Allies suffered heavy casualties as well:
Germany: 2,000,000 soldiers killed
Austria-Hungary: 1,200,000 soldiers killed
Turkey: 325,000 soldiers killed
Bulgaria: 100,000 soldiers killed
The total deaths of all nations who fought in the war is thought to have been 8.5 million with 21 million being wounded.
Additionally, the Great War undoubtedly contributed to conditions that spread the so-called Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918-1919 that killed between 20 and 30 million more people. In the year-end edition of the 1918 Journal of the American Medical Association, the editors wrote:
“The 1918 has gone: a year momentous as the termination of the most cruel war in the annals of the human race; a year which marked, the end at least for a time, of man’s destruction of man; unfortunately a year in which developed a most fatal infectious disease causing the death of hundreds of thousands of human beings. Medical science for four and one-half years devoted itself to putting men on the firing line and keeping them there. Now it must turn with its whole might to combating the greatest enemy of all — infectious disease.” (12/28/1918).
Unfortunately, nearly 100 years on, nations are still required to send young and men women abroad to fight for principles of freedom and human dignity and we are still fighting infectious disease as well. And it is our fighting men and women who are still manning the ramparts in those struggles. Today is a day to honor all those, both living and dead, who have willingly offered their service for their country. Enterra Solutions® has elected to recognize veterans by helping sponsor the largest project ever undertaken by Maryland Public Television (MPT). Last week MPT announced that it will honor the men and women who served in the military in the Vietnam War era through a $2.5 million project that will include television, educational, and special event components in the year 2016. Maryland Vietnam War Stories will air over three nights in spring 2016, capturing the experiences of men and women of the Vietnam era in their own words. Some 60 veterans have already been taped for the production, and interviews will continue for the rest of 2014 and 2015. The full MPT press release announcement can be accessed by clicking on this link. Although the MPT project focuses on the Vietnam War, I want to take this opportunity on behalf of all Enterra® employees to thank and honor veterans for their service.