11:11:11 The horrific hostilities of World War I were finally and formally ended at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, in 1918ce. This is the day when the Armistice (a formal agreement of warring parties to stop fighting) between Germany and the allied forces went into effect. Alas, World War I was known as the “war to end all wars.”
Here in the US of A, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a federal holiday where we honor all veterans who have put their lives on the line, in service of their fellow citizens of the United States. We all owe a debt to these honorable women and men… a debt that is likely too high to ever satisfactorily repay. But that doesn’t mean that we should ever stop trying…
Originally, Armistice Day honored the war dead. During the War, in the region of France that came to be known as Flanders Fields, trench warfare raged in a deadly stalemate that lasted 4 years, between 1914 and 1917. These entrenched battle lines formed the Western Front, which spanned from the coast of Belgium in the north, to the Swiss mountains in the south.
The terrible trench warfare of Flanders Fields saw millions of casualties on both sides of the Western Front. It also demonstrated the horrific potential of newly developed technologies of modern warfare. World War I saw the development and deployment of military aircraft, armored fighting vehicles, aka: Tanks, and the widespread use along the trenches of chemical warfare.
The types of chemical weapons employed ranged from deterrents such as tear gas… to lethal chemical agents like phosgene, chlorine, and mustard gas. In their deployment, the slow-moving, smothering nature of the poison gas clouds, driven by prevailing winds, was most effective. These poisonous compounds were used to injure and kill entrenched defenders, in an indiscriminate, creeping fog of death. Consequently, World War I has been labeled "the chemist's war." It was also the era where weapons of mass destruction were first created.
During the war… a miraculous, synchronistic demonstration of the awe-inspiring, beautifully resilient and loving expression of Mother Nature, even in the face of such horrors… began to grow upon Flanders Fields. Red poppies began to push through the soil and bloom, on and around the graves of the fallen soldiers. In a war zone that had been denuded of all life, the survivors of the war were moved to tears by the great redemptive gift of hope that sprouted in the form of these little red flowers.
The rep poppy has since become one of the most enduring symbols of remembrance and of the prevailing power of life, of the modern world. Little red poppy lapel pins will be seen on the chests of veterans to this day. The origins of this practice date back to French charities who sold these lapel pins to raise money for the widows and children of the fallen.
And so, in celebrating Veterans Day… Remembrance Day… Armistice Day… in honoring our vets, and especially those fallen… those at rest beyond the veil that obscures what comes next from this troubled worldly existence… let us pay our profound respects to those who dwell in the realm of the Grateful Dead... beyond the horrors of war. Let us, in turn, be grateful for those who gave their last full measure.
Let us also remember the origins of Armistice Day and the promise of a "war to end all wars." Veterans Day is a day to celebrate those women and men who lost their lives (not the war machine that sent them to their deaths). Remember, this promise of Peace was consummated on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Arguably, this pledge of peace is the origin of the 11:11 phenomenon. The number 11, and the double and (in this case) triple 11's are an especially important cosmic trigger and tend to show up in unexpected ways, indicating unforeseen, yet deeply meaningful synchronicities.
The modern 11:11 phenomenon is primarily a sign… a portent… of hope, aspiration and the will to overcome the horrors of this troubled worldly existence. It has become a symbol of the transition to a new paradigm where we all transcend violence, fear and hate… in favor of peace, compassion, and love. And wasn’t that exactly what the weary survivors of World War I were looking for?