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The Centennial of the Guns of August and the Great War

Some years ago, I happened to be in London mid-November and had lunch with a dear friend, my long-time editor at the Times Literary Supplement. I noted he wore a small felt flower--a poppy, I realized--in his jacket lapel and asked him about it. He smiled somewhat ruefully and said, it's true, Americans have never thought of Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, the way the British do--or anyway, used to, he added, because even in Britain and France, historical memory of the Great War has faded.

By contrast, in America we celebrate Veterans Day on November 11--all American veterans.