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Armistice Day

I still read old Pogo comics now and again. Here's what a character in one said, on this date back in 1953: "Y'know, it seems to be me this is all backwards....We, Ever'body, ought to keep our big mouths shut all the whole year long so's we'd have time to think of two minutes worth of somethin. to say on the eleventh day of November." He was talking about Armistice Day, a day with many names across the world. Just a few are Veteran's Day in the USA and Remembrance Day in Canada.

Armistice Day was the day that marked the end of the Great War. We call it World War I now. The fighting ended at 11 a.m., November 11, 1918: the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

On another November 11th, in 1921, a soldier from the USA whose body couldn't be identified was buried in Arlington National Cemetery. England and France had already had ceremonies like this, also on November 11. The site in Arlington became a focus of respect for America's veterans.

Time passed. First World War II and later the Korean war started and ended. Many saw a need to honor those who served the USA in all wars. In 1954 President Eisenhower signed a bill that set November 11th as "Veteran's Day." In, like, 1968, Congress decided that Veteran's Day would be a floating holiday, like, you know, Labor Day, but on the fourth Monday in October. That idea had the flight potential of a lead dirigible, and in 1978 Congress okayed the traditional date.

In light of what happened on September 11 of 2001, and what is going on today, I think the following quote is appropriate:

"Human nature will not change. In any future great national trial, compared to the men of this, we shall have as weak and as strong, as silly and as wise, as bad and as good."
Abraham Lincoln, Response to a serenade, November 10, 1864.

     
   

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Text is copyright Brian H. Gill 2001

 

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This page last updated: December 19, 2010