Hi there, Dear Reader. It’s early afternoon here in west-central Florida on Thursday, November 11, 2021. It is a warm late fall day. The current temperature is 80˚F (27˚C) under mostly cloudy skies. With humidity at 76% and the wind blowing from the south-southeast at 5 MPH (8 KM/H), the heat index is 80˚F (27˚C). The forecast for today calls for scattered rain showers. The high will be 83˚F (28˚C). Tonight, skies will be mostly cloudy. The low will be 63˚F (19˚C).
Today is Veterans Day, a day set aside – ostensibly, anyway – to recall the services of our men and women in the armed forces. Originally known in the U.S. as Armistice Day, the federal holiday – first observed as such in 1938 – it became known as Veterans Day in 1954 after intense lobbying by various veterans’ organizations. (In other countries, including Great Britain, it is still called Armistice Day since it was originally intended to observe the anniversary of the armistice that ended hostilities of World War I at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.)
Before I moved here in early April of 2016, I used to observe Veterans Day in various ways. For instance, I used to have one of those U.S. flag kits which required some assembly so I could fly Old Glory on those days when you were supposed to do so – Flag Day (June 14), Independence Day (July 4), Veterans Day (November 11), and so on. I did this regularly until I inexplicably lost one of the pieces that helped attach the flag to its three-piece mast sometime in 2012.
I had hoped to buy a replacement for the flag kit when the plan was to renovate the townhouse I inherited from my mom after she died in 2015, but that fell through when I had to move from Miami to the Tampa Bay area seven months later. The Caregiver is not interested in getting a flag for this house, so…that tradition ended for me five years ago.
Another tradition I had was to watch at least one classic military-themed movie on Veterans Day. Unlike the whole flying-the-flag one, I don’t have any prohibitions from the lady of the house. After all, I have my own 4K UHD television and its matching Blu-ray player, so if I want to I can still watch something along the lines of Saving Private Ryan, Platoon, A Bridge Too Far, Full Metal Jacket, Memphis Belle, or The Longest Day.
Before Mom got sick in 2010 (actually, she started having serious health issues before then, but the dam broke, so to speak, in the Spring of ’10), she and I would watch at least one war movie or a documentary film. In that regard, I was blessed to have the company of a person who shared my respect for veterans and didn’t go “Ew. I am not watching a war movie!” when I trotted out a DVD or Blu-ray of a film from that genre.
As I said, there are no rules here that proscribe what I watch in the privacy of my room, but I hate watching movies by myself, so I don’t bother following my old Veterans Day traditions here as assiduously as I did back in South Florida.
I don’t know what I’ll be doing for the balance of Veterans Day 2021. I already observed my moment of silence at 2:11 PM Eastern, so I already paid tribute to America’s veterans in quiet solitude. I might read from my latest military-themed book – Dead Reckoning’s graphic novel adaptation of James D. Hornfischer’s The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors: The Extraordinary World War II Story of the U.S. Navy’s Finest Hour. Or I might grab another title from my November TBR pile.
But first, I need to take some Tylenol. I have a nagging headache that I hoped would go away after brunch but did not.