Remembering Veterans of America's Forgotten Wars




Armistice Day was begun in 1919 to commemorate the veterans of the “War to End All Wars.” Sadly, World War I was not the last the world saw of war. Therefore, in 1953, Armistice Day was repurposed as “Veterans Day” to celebrate those who had served in all American Wars. 

 The Heroes of the War of 1812
Courtesy of NYPL Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection


Since then, the veterans of both world wars, the Korean War, Vietnam Conflict, Desert Storm, Iraq War, and American intervention in Afghanistan have been honored on November 11. However, if we truly want to remember the sacrifices of American soldiers, we need to remember some of the forgotten wars in which the U.S. military has served.



Yes, we all remember the Battle of the Alamo (and therefore the Texas Revolution), but do you remember the Quasi-War between America and France? And what about the Barbary War (mostly remembered for the “Shores of Tripoli” line in the Marine Corps Hymn)? Here is a list of America’s military conflicts with links. 


 United States occupation of Nicaragua – One of the Banana Wars
US Marines with the captured flag of Augusto C├ęsar Sandino in Nicaragua in 1932


I propose that today, Veterans Day, we remember some of America’s less celebrated wars and the men (and fewer women) who fought in them. Yes, some of the wars the U.S. has fought in its 235-year history have been morally dubious to say the least (the Banana Wars and the American Indian Wars, for example). But it is important to remember our mistakes as well as our victories. Preventing future wars honors our veterans who fought for peace. 



War of 1812
Courtesy of NYPL Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection



And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
         Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
         And never again will they learn war anymore.
Isaiah 2:4


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