Monday, November 12, 2007

Veterans Day

Happy Veterans Day! (or Armistice! or Remembrance! if you prefer). Our tradition of Veterans Day dates to the Great War, when fraternity with our European allies, and late troop involvement, made important for us that war's arbitrarily-chosen moment of ceasefire: the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. I am afraid this timing was chosen for its convenient and cool-sounding mnemonic rather than the moment peace accords were signed, and fighting continued after this ending was designed, if only to fulfill in aesthetic resonance. After World War II, Armistice Day was renamed in the US to memorialize all veterans of foreign wars, and the attributive (but not possessive) Veterans Day has been celebrated on the eleventh (or, from sixty- to seventy-eight, its closest Sunday) most years since. It is an official state and federal holiday in the United States, and government employees get a vacation day on the nearest Monday; though many schools and businesses do not close. Sunshine will be off work tomorrow. Owing to this country's place in US military history, as well as its place in the cultures of our friends and family members, this seems a profoundly apropos first holiday for us to celebrate at post in Vietnam. Typical observance is the following: two minutes of silence observed on the eleventh Parisian hour, the anniversary of 1918's oddly corrupt and impossibly mannered colonial ceasefire. Some places this silence ends in rounds of cannon fire. Time zones play tricks, of course: that's the seventeenth hour in Southeast Asia, five am in Washington, DC, and one pm in Baghdad. Generally, however, like sunrise, like lunchtime, like any relative labeling, the world celebrates at local eleven am, when I observed another hour and a half of silence, I suppose, because I was still asleep. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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