Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran's Day, Armistice Day, Remembrance Day...

See the title, and wonder why? 
Women's Memorial - Vietnam War

Well, November 11 is many things. Armistice Day, which is probably the oldest form of recognition of this day, is the day, November 11, 1918, when fighting in World War I (wasn't that the "Great War"?) ceased, with the signing of an "armistice" between the Allies and Germany. 

An "armistice" is an acknowledgement between warring parties that the fighting will stop. It can be a permanent one or a temporary halt to the war. It's also defined as "truce."

Remembrance Day is held also on this date in the UK. It's also called "Poppy Day." Everyone wears red poppy pins to commemorate those lost in war and those who returned. At 11 a.m. on 11/11, a two-minute silence is observed. 

Also, for the women vets out there, on this day in 1993, a bronze statue honoring the more than 11,000 US women who served in the Vietnam War was dedicated in Washington DC. It's hard to remember the women... particularly because often, the women had behind-the-scenes roles which were vital. Women serving as drivers, nurses, aides - all of those women did fight the war. Maybe not with guns, but I can't even imagine being in a field hospital and seeing the carnage. And then perhaps having someone think that you "didn't really fight" in the war. Really? 

Veterans Day is the US version of Armistice Day and Remembrance Day. In our country, it's a commemoration of every war in which the US fought. 
Flags up and down the entryway

Oh, and it's also all about the sales. Sorry for the whiplash, but truly: check out the numerous signs and flyers advertising "Veterans Day Sale"... And go ahead, shake your head. 

Our main campus recognizes the day by having flags placed along the drive in and out. It's not the best picture, but here is what I was able to catch. You get the idea. We have a great guy who's the Veteran Liaison and he's been instrumental in helping local vets get hooked up with financial aid, counselors, and getting them ready for "re-entry" into the civilian world. It's not easy. 

Even if you're in the peacetime military (if anyone remembers that), you would go out on cruises, out on missions - you were maybe stationed far from home. All of that is very foreign to the civilians back home, and when you came back, you were forever changed - and so were the folks you left. In the Navy particularly: you have a 6-month cruise, and you leave your spouse and a couple of kids. She has to take care of everything. Everything. And then you come home. 

That re-entry is difficult at best. Particularly because couples often clashed in terms of whose job was whose. Which roles were whose. Who did what with the kids. What the routines were, and how they were established. All of that is hard work. And that's why military marriages are hard. 

The poem most associated with this day is called "In Flanders Fields," and it was penned by Lt. Colonel John McCrae.

Here it is:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
      Between the crosses, row on row,
   That mark our place; and in the sky
   The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
   Loved and were loved, and now we lie
         In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
   The torch; be yours to hold it high.
   If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
         In Flanders fields.

That should give you goosebumps. If it doesn't, please check your pulse. 

Pause for a moment today - it doesn't have to be at 11 a.m. -- but pause. And thank those who didn't come home, as well as those who have come home, forever changed by what they saw and what they remember.


Opal Sock
Yes, I cast on another pair of socks. Here it is so far. The yarn is Opal Diamant. It's a bicolor, and looks prettier than my crummy camera on my phone can make it. Dye lot is 6526 and color is 660. At least I think that's the order they're in. Opal labels are not in English, for the most part! 

The DPNs are Knitter's Pride "Cubics" - they're wood, and they feel very fragile compared to my Kollage aluminum needles. I'm using a very plain pattern - just a cuff of about 1" and then straight knitting. Maybe boring, but the color changes add enough interest; I don't want to obscure the colors with a busy pattern. 

I will get back to the Teal Sock. I'm just mad at it now, and we need a Time-Out. 


I wish I could say I have pictures of the twins' Christening. But I don't. I wasn't even there. It's this way... I had a rash and went to the doctor for a fix. The fix gave me a  horrible reaction - like hives all over my body. And on top of that, I thought I had pink-eye. I actually DO have an eye infection, but (whew!) it's not pink-eye. 

However, the doctor told me "wash your hands a lot and stay away from kids." It's still catchy. It's looking lots better, but I thought that since I was contagious, nobody would appreciate me being there. 

That's how the Opal socks came about... I stayed home from church and the christening, watched a lot of old movies and worked on the sock. 


We have "snizzle" in the forecast for today. Snow/drizzle, for those of you in warmer climates. Yep. Just a taste of what the next 3 months or so might bring us. Personally, I'm hoping for a snowy winter, because I want to get out my snowshoes. Which brings me to....

Holiday Creep...

What is with people? So far, Mercedes started their holiday commercials right after Halloween, and now there are several stores opening on THANKSGIVING Day. Really? And Sirius satellite radio announced this morning that their holiday channels start tomorrow. 

This is too much. Kid #2 says that Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday, but now lately, "'s the butt-crack between Halloween and Christmas." 

That's about right. 

We go to pick up the turkey on the 19th. We are having Thanksgiving early - and before anyone says that that's kind of hypocritical, let me just say that in our family, it's practical - and a matter of survival. 

My brother has to go to his in-laws. You know the family dynamic, and if you're lucky enough to not have that kind of weird, please bow your head in thanks. 

My nephew (dad of the twins) has a second family to visit, and his wife has a wide variety of "steps" to visit. Those kids run ragged, and it's not fair to the babies, either.  

As well, this year, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah are on the same day. Or I should say that Hanukkah begins on November 28. To me, though, that's just a regular calendar thing. 

This bit about having people shop on the ONE DAY that everyone agreed was "hands-off" is a bit much. Today in the Trib, Macy's said they were acknowledging that people need family time, so they're opening at 8 p.m. Nice. 


I think that we need a non-commercial holiday. We need to not be out there looking for "the next best thing" to put under a tree. We need to spend time with parents, grandparents, etc. The cousins need to get together. We need to share stories more than we need to park at a mall and shop.

So while we'll have the "non-traditional" day on the Sunday before, I like having the actual day to our own family. The first time we did this, I think my mom was feeling bitter, "Nobody wants to stay at MY house..." etc. I did remind her that Hubby hasn't been home for a Thanksgiving in many years and that she really has to get over that feeling. Now, though - even she's liking the Sunday-before thing. Nobody has to rush to get anywhere, and it seems less stressful. Kid #2 will be late, because it's his school's "Step-Up Day" and he has to be there. But then, he wears his "Teacher Duds" to my mom's house and she gets all squishy. It all works out well. 

Random Picture...

Lake view, Mt. Bre
I'm pretty sure that this is Hubby's picture, but I can't remember. What I do remember is that this is the view from the mountain, Mt. Bre, on the Day We Saw the Mountains in France and Switzerland. I wasn't going to hike down to this view, because I was tuckered, but I did. And I hiked all the way back, too. I was a dripping mess, but yes, the view was definitely worth it. 

Kid #2 requested a picture of Mt. Blanc, and I think this might be the one I give to Kid #1. Both kids love the mountains, and I know they'll love these pictures. 

That trip was indeed a trip. I think it's one of my fondest times. So far, at least. 

No comments: