Does anyone remember what happened on Nov. 11, 1918? Will it be spoken of in your school? Is it a dinner table conversation? Will your boss call everyone out for a moment of silence at the 11th hour?
On Nov. 11, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson decreed that all Americans should take a moment of silence at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year, because precisely a year before, French commander Ferdinand Foch and the German leadership signed the armistice which ended World War I, known then as the Great War.
Here at Maine Maritime Academy, we are not service members. The majority of us will not fight in a war. We do, however, wear a uniform that makes it impossible to forget the people for whom this day of honor is held.
At 1100 hours on Monday the 11th, all classes were cancelled and a ceremony was held at the memorial outside the student center. The uniform of the day: service dress blues, and everyone turned out with shiny shoes and pressed uniforms.
The regimental band played for the ceremony and speeches were given by Capt. Gandy and members of the student government.
We may not be soldiers, but our heritage at this school comes from World War II, and we will not allow the memory of veterans to pass away.
Even if we are not service members, many of our teachers and mentors are veterans, and the campus has several memorials to those students who have gone off to be naval officers and wartime merchant sailors: the cannon outside the Student Center and the park on upper campus are two. Remembrance for those who have fought will be first on campus on this day.
There is too much to say about our veterans to fit in one column. Look for the stories as we remember Veterans Day this year.
Sometimes I feel like this is over-quoted, but Shakespeare’s King Henry V said it better than most: “From this day to the ending of the world but we in it shall be remembered; we few, we happy few, we band of brothers; for he to-day that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.” We will not forget, and nor will we taint the honor of those men and women who place their lives in peril for us back home with talk of politics and bipartisan nonsense, for today is for the soldier only.
My father suggested the new name for this column, “View from the Quarterdeck.” Once, on Royal Navy man of war, the quarterdeck was the place where the captain commanded the vessel. Now it is the place where a ship’s business is conducted.
What is the view from the quarterdeck on days like today? No different than other days, but one thinks differently about the routine. It is the quarterdeck watch’s job to hoist the flag in the morning, and today as the sun comes up we salute those colors with renewed vigor. The same sun that comes up on the 4-8 a.m. watch has since set on men and women in the hostile places of the world.
This sun rises on a day we can all ask God to bless America.
Benjamin Stevens of Islesford is a sophomore at MMA.