99 years ago, World War I ended on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month.
We live in a world far removed from the Great War, the war that was to end all wars, but it merits mention today. Nearly 10,000,000 died (and 7,000,000 more went missing and are still unaccounted for) and over 20,000,000 were wounded.
But how does WWI impact our life in 2017 and why does it merit mention on a travel blog?
World War I began rather unexpectedly but soon spiraled into a bloody multi-year conflict.
> Read More: Reflections on World War and Crashed Airliners
When we don’t understand history, it is more likely to repeat itself. Stray words and unforeseen consequences can start wars. Tough talk is not always counterproductive, but threats and insults often create a lethal combination.
I don’t just stay in airports and western hotel chains when I travel. I’ve had incredible interactions in my travels around the world (130+ countries) and with people in places like Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia. I see that conflict is not often black and white, but various shades of gray.
So what does all that mean? On this Armistice Day, a day of thanksgiving for the end of WWI, let us simply resolve to listen before speaking, understand before judging, and relentlessly pursue reconciliation over division. That’s how we honor the memory of all those who served a greater cause in war.