What passing-bells for these who die as cattle? Only the monstrous anger of the guns. Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle Can patter out their hasty orisons. No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells; Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells; And bugles calling for them from sad shires. What candles may be held to speed them all? Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes Shall shine the holy glimmers of good-byes. The pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall; Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds, And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.
— Wilfred Owen, Anthem for Doomed Youth
We call it Veterans Day now, but I prefer the old names.
Here's a story from the Great War. Can't vouch for its truth or remember where I read it. Maybe it means something.
Before the Battle of the Somme in 1916, the French and British forces pounded the German lines with artillery fire for eight days. The theory, soon to be disproved, was that it would decimate the enemy even before the attack.
Eight days. Shells whizzed and detonated. The guns were reloaded. On and on it went, making one hell of a racket.
As zero hour, 7:30 am, approached the firing stopped. For a few minutes, before the deadliest single day of battle in history, quiet reigned.
In those minutes, all the armies in the field could hear birds singing.