It was called the “war to end all wars.”

World War I came to an end 100 years ago this week. On the “11th month, 11th day and 11th hour”

of 1918, the Armistice was signed and celebrations erupted that peace finally had come. But that war was really the foreshadowing of the horror of the 20th century.

An estimated 123 million people worldwide died in all the wars of the 20th century, according to Matthew White’s “Worldwide Statis-tics of Casualties, Massacres, Disasters and Atrocities.” Imperialism, Nazism, communism, socialism – to name a few – made that 100 years the bloodiest in history. Western Democracy bore the brunt of turning back these ideologies that threatened life, liberty and goodwill to all mankind.

I am old enough to remember some of the Doughboys who fought “over there.” Two I recall were gentle souls who had been to hell and back.

One veteran who lived around the corner from us had been gassed in the trenches. He shook like he had Parkinson’s disease and struggled to take care of himself. The other was homeless and suffered from what we would now call PTSD. Our church set up a room for him in the basement and he lived there as the “custodian.”

Our parents communicated to us that if these men needed anything we were to help without question. Later they were taken care of at the Iowa Veterans Home until they died.

Once in a message our pastor read Matthew 24:6, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.” I looked over at the “custodian” and he had his head bowed, tears moistening his eyes. He understood that the war he fought in was not the last as America at that time was calling its young people to Vietnam.

As followers of Christ we hope for that day when He returns and there is an end to conflict and bloodshed. Until then we owe a great debt of gratitude to Americans who serve in our Armed Forces around the world because war is not going away until Jesus returns.

This Sunday, Nov. 11, is Veterans Day. Please take a moment of silence to remember the sacrifice that has been given for liberty over these 10 decades.

At 11 a.m. the bell in the Kosciusko County Courthouse dome will be rung 21 times to remember. If there are other bells we encourage them to be rung too.

Let us pray for peace and renew our trust in the God who has preserved us all these years. To those who serve in our Armed Forces and to our veterans, both living and who have received their promotion to eternity, thank you.

Ken Locke is community ministries director of The Salvation Army in Warsaw and director of the Greater Warsaw Ministerial Association. Have ideas for this column? Go to