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Veterans Day

November 11, 2010

I don’t remember Armistice Day, I’m too young for that holiday. According to the dictionary, Armistice Day was renamed Veterans Day a year before I was born.

I do remember Veterans Day and sometimes I feel a little sad because I don’t think many people today think of Veterans Day as much more than another day off of work, a chance to get in one last day of fishing before winter, time to get the leaves raked, or a chance to start some early holiday shopping. In the perfect world I’d like to see, everyone would remember Veterans Day and everyone would remember all the soldiers who have given their lives in defense of America.

I’m not a fan of war and in the perfect world I’d like to see we wouldn’t be in either Iraq or Afghanistan, but I’m not going to talk about that today. Thoughts on war aside, I am appreciative of and thankful for the selfless individuals who leave their families and homes and put their lives on hold to risk their lives to keep mine safe.

If you’re out and about today and see someone selling little red poppies, please buy one and wear it.

Below is a little piece of flash fiction I wrote about Armistice Day in response to a writing prompt. The prompt was:

1) Reference a historical calamity.
2) Use a word that has at least three homonyms, and use them all.
3) Include a word used in English, but that is foreign (ex. chauffeur, mensch, padre).
4) Use the phrase: bull’s eye.

Armistice Day.

That’s a phrase you don’t hear much nowadays, if at all, unless you’re talking to an old fella around my age. Sure, the day’s still there but it’s called Veteran’s Day now and while I admit to being an old stickler for tradition – I liked the old name, still do for that matter – the change made sense because from where I sit, if you’re going to honor veterans, then you should honor all veterans. It’s just a shame we continue making more with each new generation. Anyway, I’m wandering and I apologize for that. I was talking about Armistice Day and with all this snow making the news programs this winter, and all the talk of blizzards and such, it makes me think back to the big one: The Armistice Day Blizzard.

I was just a boy of 12 back in 1940 and that Armistice Day started out as something special. Here we were, moving into winter and we had spring-like temperatures in the 60’s. Who could believe we’d be getting weather this warm this late in the year? We Minnesotans are a hearty bunch and we don’t kowtow to winter’s threats, but this was a gift not to be ignored. A warm day like that so late in the year – a lot of folks decided to take advantage of it and take the day off from work and enjoy one last day of summer. Hunters took their boats out on the river for what looked to be a relaxing day of duck hunting and other folks took off for the lakes and parks. When you live in Minnesota and get a day like this in November, you’d be out of your mind not to take advantage of it.

The weatherman – back in the days of yore we called them weathermen – told us it was going to get colder and we might get some flurries, but they never knew that within 24 hours we’d be smack dab in the bull’s eye of this storm. And what a storm it was. Started out as rain and then turned to snow. Later, the temperature dropped down low and the winds picked up and that storm wailed like a banshee, creating two to three foot waves on the rivers and lakes. By the time everything was said and done a day later, much of the state was blanketed with snow and 49 unfortunate souls, unprepared for the drastic and extreme change in the weather, lost their lives. It was a tragic day in Minnesota history.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 11, 2010 6:19 pm

    Very nice post, Michael. I’ve heard my mother tell stories about the Armistice Day blizzard since I was a little girl. She was a freshman at the U of M back then and I know the storm made a huge impression on her. And now that I think of it, I should write them down.


  2. November 11, 2010 10:29 pm

    Hello there, Happy veteran’s day!!!

    We just simply wanted to wish America’s twenty five million old soldiers a happy Veteran’s Day. And so lets me quote veteran’s day quote which I really like:

    “Many become brave when brought to bay . . :: Norwegian proverb”..

    Whenever you need to get info about Veterans Day activities, coupons, its History, pictures and also even more, have a fantastic virtual repository with everything else to help you… .


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