Friday, November 11, 2011

Still Life with Robin: 11-11-11

by Peggy Robin

Veterans Day is one of those underrated holidays that for far too many of us is just another work day. Furniture stores, car dealerships and other retailers may treat it as just another opportunity for a sale. For four years (between 1971 and 1975) Veterans Day did not even have its own special day: It was one of those holidays that moved to the nearest Monday. Fortunately, there was enough of an outcry from veterans’ organizations to result in the eventual restoration of Veterans Day to its original, historic date, November 11. It was on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 that an armistice was declared in "The Great War" -- World War I to us.

It was after World War II, in 1954, that President Eisenhower signed the order changing the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day, but at least he kept the holiday on its proper date.

On this year’s Veterans Day the date stands out because it’s all the same number: 11-11-11.

Curiously, in 2010, the date 10-10-10 was also a holiday – for millions upon millions of Chinese around the world. It was on “Double Ten,” October 10, 1911, that Sun Yat Sen declared the Republic of China. That date is Chinese National Day in Taiwan and for most Chinese outside of the Chinese mainland, where October 1 is celebrated as Chinese National Day, marking the day in 1949 that Chairman Mao declared the founding of the People’s Republic of China. (While there may be two competing Chinese National Days, at least neither one gets bounced to the nearest Monday.)

A few other repeating number holidays you may remember:

New Year’s Day, 2001 was 01-01-01.
Groundhoug Day, 2002 was 02-02-02.
Cinco de Mayo, 2005 was 05-05-05
The 62nd anniversary of D-Day was 06-06-06

You may not know this, but December 12th (12-12) is a charming little holiday called “Dozens Day.” You can celebrate with a dozen eggs or a dozen roses or a dozen of anything you like. You ring in Dozens Day at midnight when the clock chimes twelve times and you spend the day appreciating things that come by the dozen (even if they're not cheaper that way). But you’ll have to wait a year, a month and a day until “Triple Dozens Day,” that is, 12-12-12.

Happy Veterans Day to all, and especially our veterans and their families!

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