Over there, over there
Send the word, send the word over there,
That the Yanks are coming, the Yanks are coming,
Their drums rum-tumming everywhere.
So prepare, send a prayer,
Send the word, send the word to beware—
We’ll be over, we’re coming over,
And we won’t come back till it’s over over there.
Have you ever wondered why we celebrate Veterans Day on November 11 every year? Most other federal holidays, including birthdays of historical figures, get moved to Mondays. Aside from New Year’s Day, which obviously can’t be moved, and Christmas, which has a very strong tradition for a specific date, all other holidays generally float around to create a convenient long weekend.
But Veterans Day does not. It is always celebrated on the 11th day of the 11th month of the year, and those who are involved in ceremonies may know that they generally begin at the 11th hour (11:00 in the morning) on Veterans Day. Hmm — 11:00 on 11/11. This year is 2011, which made it 11:00 on 11/11/11. Perhaps, given the special form of the date this past week, it is time to recall why we celebrate at such an unusual time on such a specific date.
There is another reason why this year is a particularly special time to remember the significance of Veterans Day: the last original veteran died this year, or at least the last U.S. veteran. There is only one remaining in the rest of the world, a 110-year-old woman in England.
What is often forgotten these days is that Veterans Day is actually Armistice Day. On the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour in the year 1918, the armistice—the agreement to end all hostilities—was signed to mark the official end of the First World War, which at that time was known as simply the Great War, or even the War to End All Wars.
Armistice Day was not a celebration of the war. It was not a time for patriotism or for the cheering of veterans for their service. Instead, it was a celebration of peace, of thanksgiving that some veterans did make it home to their families after a senseless war. continue reading…