--Sea ChangeDr. Murray looked like he was about to say something, but
Carville spoke up, saying stubbornly, “I still don’t believe the
United States surrendered.”
“A peace treaty is not a surrender, Carville,” Charley said. “I
am sure there is more to this than we know.”
Indeed, when Captain Doyle returned there was a full report. A
peace treaty had been negotiated restoring Great Britain and the
United States to their antebellum status.
“But what of the prisoners?” Charley asked Captain Doyle.
“A Yankee trader from France bound for Charleston put into
port a few days back. That is how we got the news. The governor
is not interested in having a gang of Americans roaming through
Kingston, and asked if we would ‘host’ them for a while longer
until they can ship out with their countrymen.”
It was that simple. Men who two days earlier would have run
each other through or blown each other to pieces, now were up on
deck toasting each other’s countries with carefully rationed grog.
Captain Doyle wisely put a limit on the amount of alcohol served,
knowing that it wouldn’t take much to re-ignite the conflict on a
“Captain Fletcher told me I do not understand men, Mr.
Bryant,” Charley said in bemusement later that night. “I have to
agree with him.”
Mr. Bryant shrugged his shoulders. “They fought when they
needed to fight. Now they’re anxious to go home. We sailors are
not complicated creatures, Doctor.”
November 11 is Veterans Day in the US, formerly known as Armistice Day. It marked the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, the end of World War I, but now it's the day we salute the women and men who fought for us. They are the ones who defend our country from foreign enemies, and we owe them our respect and gratitude for doing that difficult job.
I'm proud to live in a community that hosts an excellent VA Medical facility. I've visited friends being treated there, and I'm always impressed by the caring individuals who work so hard to give our veterans their health care. It's not a perfect system, and for many veterans and their families there's far too much waiting and red tape, but it's a vast improvement over what existed 100 years ago.
In the best of all possible worlds, we wouldn't need standing armies and navies (and the Marines, the Air Force, and the Coast Guard) but until that day, they do the work that needs to be done.