This is IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English.
eleventh, nineteen eighteen, was the day Germany signed a cease-fire agreement with
the Allies in World War One. Some countries observe November eleventh as
Armistice Day or Remembrance Day.
This year, Chancellor Angela Merkel became the first
German leader to attend the ceremony in Paris. Her visit was another sign of
growing European unity, and growing ties between France and Germany.
Two days earlier, French President Nicolas Sarkozy was
in Germany as thousands of people remembered a different war -- the Cold War. They
celebrated the twentieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in a
almost thirty years the huge wall divided Germany. It also represented the
separation of western Europe from the communist east.
the United States, November eleventh is Veterans Day. The holiday honors all
those who have served in the armed forces. It has special meaning for service
members like Lieutenant Colonel Dan Snowden, now serving in Afghanistan.
DAN SNOWDEN: "Veterans Day is very important, it
goes back to generations. My father was a veteran of the Korean War, and it
really represents the future and the past and present."
On Veterans Day, the president
traditionally lays a wreath of flowers next to the Tomb of the Unknowns at
Arlington National Cemetery near Washington. But President Obama surprised
mourners by also visiting the graves of soldiers killed in Iraq and
he met again with his advisers about a decision on the future of the Afghan
war. His war commander has asked for an additional forty thousand troops. But officials
say the American ambassador in Kabul has expressed concerns because of Afghan government
corruption. The ambassador, Karl Eikenberry, is a former commander of the war.
President Obama said Friday in Tokyo that "the decision will be made
Veterans Day came
a day after the president spoke at a memorial service at the Army base at Fort
Hood, Texas. The service was for the thirteen people killed in a shooting there
last week. Military officials have brought murder charges against Major Nidal
Hasan, an Army psychiatrist. He was one of the Army's mental health
professionals working with soldiers to deal with the effects of war.
Officials say he shot at unarmed
soldiers and civilians as troops were preparing for deployments to Iraq and
Afghanistan. Major Hasan was shot and seriously wounded by police.
Investigators say they are looking at every
possible reason for the shooting. Officials say they will also investigate
whether warning signs about Major Hasan's behavior were ignored.
Fort Hood is a huge base
that has lost more than five hundred soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many
soldiers say the best way to honor those killed in the shooting is to continue doing
their duty. Sergeant Perry Osburn put it this way:
PERRY OSBURN: "We cannot let this make us afraid,
you know what I'm saying? You just got to keep moving on."
that's IN THE NEWS in VOA Special English. Transcripts, podcasts and archives
of our programs can be found at voaspecialenglish.com. And you can follow us on
Twitter at VOA Learning English. I'm Steve Ember.