Nightline Closing Thought Nov. 11, 2003

This being Veterans Day, there was a small ceremony out at Arlington Cemetery this afternoon, honoring the fallen from the 3rd Infantry Division.

Since we were with the 3rd ID in Iraq last spring, a couple of us went out to pay our respects. We ran into a few of our friends but most of the men out there were veterans of World War II and the Korean War.

The 3rd Infantry Division is known as the rock of the Marne, in honor of its performance during a brutal and enormously costly battle at that place during the World War I.

One of the veterans at Arlington this afternoon movingly recalled that this date, Nov. 11, was known as Armistice Day before it was called Veterans Day.

The armistice ending World War I was signed at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918. That was supposed to mark the end of the war to end all wars.

As that veteran today reminded us, it didn't, of course. It hasn't. Perhaps our veterans are too conscious of the sacrifice that they and their dead comrades made. But it's too bad we don't hear from those old soldiers before we go to war.

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