Thursday, November 10, 2011

Veterans Day 11.11.11

I've written here in the past about Veterans Day, lamenting that the holiday seems to have lost its significance for most Americans. Perhaps this year will be different due to the fortuitous symmetry of the date on which it falls.

11.11.11, can you imagine a more appropriate date for the holiday that was originally established as Armistice Day to mark the cease-fire that brought to an end the first world war, the "war to end all wars". That armistice was signed on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, so 11.11.11 already has special significance for the meaning of the day.

People seem to love a date that can be expressed in terms of a single repeated digit and (correct me if I am wrong) this is the only one where the digit is repeated six times. 11.11.11 only comes around once every 100 years and this is the first occasion for it to be Veterans Day. The reason I think this same-digit palindromic date might make this Veterans Day special, other than pure superstition, is that the media love to make a big deal about stuff like that. And if the media talk it up people will pay attention - and maybe they'll pause for just a moment to remember what all the hoopla is supposed to be about: remembering and honoring our country's armed service members and veterans.

11.11.11 - the date is being hyped for all kinds of reasons, from commercial exploitation to predictions of supernatural events (really, I googled it) so if some of the hype results in increased attention to Veterans Day 2011, I am all for it.

So on 11.11.11 (at 11:11 AM, if you are a real fanatic about digits), do something to say "thank you" to our nation's service members (and their families, who also sacrifice) and veterans. Fly the Stars and Stripes, go to a parade, give blood (perfect for any occasion), hug someone in uniform, donate your time, services or money to any one of dozens of organizations that support the cause (head over to my web site Dirigonzo Speaks for suggestions), or just take a minute to reflect on the sacrifices large and small that these men and women made so that you and I can live in freedom. It's obvious what they have done for us, so the question is what are we going to do for them? A little show of appreciation on the one day a year set apart in their honor doesn't seem like a lot to ask.

Take care of it in the morning and you'll still have all afternoon to shop. Happy Veterans Day.

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