Dear Livingston Library Community,
Yesterday was Veterans Day, and I’ve been thinking about one of my all-time favorite authors, the late Kurt Vonnegut. In fact I love his Slaughterhouse-Five so much that I had its philosophical catchphrase of impermanence tattooed on my arm (see below).
Born out of Vonnegut’s own hellish tour of duty in World War II, Slaughterhouse-Five tells the story of Billy Pilgrim, a mild-mannered optometrist who comes “unstuck in time” after the firebombing of Dresden. Slaughterhouse-Five is a famous indictment of war. But re-reading the book, it’s clear that as much as Vonnegut hated warfare, he loved and admired his comrades at arms: “The nicest veterans…the kindest and funniest ones, the ones who hated war the most, were the ones who’d really fought.”
Oddly enough, Vonnegut did not approve of Veterans Day. He longed for its precursor, Armistice Day, from his youth, which commemorated the sudden end of fighting in World War I with a moment of silence at 11:11 AM on November 11th. And even more oddly enough, it turns out that November 11th was also Vonnegut’s birthday.
So won’t you join me in a belated moment of silence to remember Vonnegut, Armistice Day, and all the veterans who have sacrificed so much for our country?
All the best,
Director – Livingston Library