It was supposed to be "the war to end all wars."
The world was supposed to have witnessed such unbridled bloodshed and wasted life and considered it unthinkable
to do it ever again.
Since 1918 the world has seen carnage that eclipsed that which was triggered by the assassination of an archduke.
The armistice that ended World War 1 came at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of that year, and America chose that moment to remember those who served not only in that conflict but in all wars previous and all wars to come.
And so it is that we bow our heads in reverence, in some meager effort to thank those men and women who sacrifice so much so that their homeland has remained free for more than 200 years.
This year as we repeat the tradition, there are Americans in harm's way in the war on terror.
The aggressors they face come not in traditional lines of combat, but with remotely controlled explosive devices and the fervor of martyrdom.
The world is no longer so naive as to label any war a "war to end all wars," but we all cling to the hope that some day the period between them will be so wide that perhaps a whole generation will be born and pass away without the stain of armed conflict.
Until that time, we as a free nation, will rely on the sacrifice of those who volunteer to protect us from harm.
At the 11th hour today, take a few moments to reflect on that sacrifice and give thanks that there are those willing to make it.