The story of Nov. 11

Published 8:08 pm Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A few weeks ago I wrote about the attempt to change the calendar to all Mondays or weekend holidays and I mentioned the change of Nov. 11 to a Monday and the government changed it back to Nov. 11. Here is the reason.
I was reminded of it when I watch the story on Public Television about Downton Abbey. The men of the Abbey served in the first World War in 1918 and the Armistice was signed on Nov. 11 at the 11th hour . they held a ceremony to honor those men.
The commemoration of that day was originally called Armistice Day. It had  named Poppy Day for a short time in remembrance of the blood spilled in the war. After World War II it was named Veterans Day in honor of those lost in all Wars.
On November 1919 President Wilson proclaimed the celebration as a commemoration of Armistice Day. Congress officially proclaimed Nov. 11 as a legal holiday in 1938 and in 1954  November 11 became a day to honor veterans of all wars.
When the Uniform Holiday Bill was signed on June 28, 1968, it moved national holidays to four Mondays; Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and Columbus Day. The first Veterans Day under the new law was on Oct. 25, 1971. President Gerald Ford changed Veterans Day back to Nov. 11 beginning in 1978. Veterans Day continues to be observed on Nov. 11 to help focus our attention and to honor all Americans for their service to their country.
Many Americans mistakenly believe that Veterans Day is the day America sets aside to honor American military personnel who died in battle or as a result of wounds sustained from combat. That’s not quite true. Memorial Day is the day set aside to honor America’s war dead.
Veterans Day, on the other hand, honors all American veterans, both living and dead. It is intended to thank living veterans for dedicated and loyal service to their country.
November 11 is observed in Edwardsburg with a retiring of the flags ceremony.
My husband and I both remember in elementary school that every one stood on Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. for two minutes of silence. I’m sure we had no idea of why it was done other then it was Veterans Day.
On another matter: a reader commented about my article about zippers.
To clarify the invention of the zipper, Gideon Sundback of Smaland, Sweden started to work at Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company in Pittsburgh in 1905. In 1906  he moved to the Universal Fastener Co. in New Jersey. He married the daughter of the plant manager and was promoted to head designer.
He worked with the previous inventions of other engineers such as Elias Howe, who developed a sewing machine, Max Wolff and Whitcomb Judson.  In 1913 he invented the Hookless Fastener No.1 and later the Hookless Fastener No 2.  Sundback is credited with the development  and improvement of the zipper and the company later became the Talon  Zipper Co.
Now you know the whole story of the zipper, thanks to a reader.