************************************************************* Comrades in Arms:
Years ago, when I lived in Salt Lake City, Utah, and later, when I lived in Saint Anthony, Idaho, Veterans Day was always a very special time.
I would dress up in my (only!) best Sunday-go-to-meetin' suit, with all my medals properly arranged on my chest, and march in the parade.
ARMY REGULATION 670-1: 30-6
WEAR OF MEDALS ON CIVILIAN CLOTHES
Retired personnel and former members of the Army (as described above) may wear all categories of medals described in this regulation on appropriate civilian clothing.
This includes clothes designed for veteran and patriotic organizations on Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, and Armed Forces Day, as well as at formal occasions of ceremony and social functions of a military nature.
Personnel may wear either full-size or miniature medals.
Personnel who wear medals on civilian clothes should place the medals on the clothing in approximately the same location and in the same manner as for the Army uniform, so they look similar to medals worn on the Army uniform.
After the parade, we would all go to the local post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars for a free meal of hot chili and hot chocolate.
In Saint Anthony, Idaho, our parade down Main Street would end in the park, for a solemn ceremony at the statue of a World War I doughboy.
Saint Anthony, Idaho
Other veterans would speak, and I would show them my teddy bear, play my guitar, and sing the song I composed about "TED E. BAIR".
The kids loved it!
Back in those days, we strictly observed tradition.
Veterans Day was ALWAYS on the Eleventh of November, and all parades and/or ceremonies began at EXACTLY 1100 Hours, and not a minute sooner or later.
That's because we commemorate the ARMISTICE of 1918, which took effect at the Eleventh Hour on the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month.
But, what is happening today?
Veterans Day is today, Friday 11 November 2011, and here in Mississippi, they're having the Veterans Day parade TOMORROW, on the TWELFTH of November.
Here at the Armed Forces Retirement Home, we're having a "Community Day", and the flag ceremony was at 1000 Hours.
So, our American traditions are continuing to be quashed and relegated to the dusty, forgotten archives of ancient history.
Even my chosen faith, The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints, has ignored our historic tradition by having the SAINTS AT WAR CONFERENCE on the campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah begin at 1000 Hours.
My most memorable Veterans Day event was in Salt Lake City, Utah during a snowstorm.
At the last minute, due to the weather, the parade was cancelled.
But, we veterans ignored the officially announced cancellation and, promptly at 1100 Hours, began marching down the middle of Main Street, forcing vehicle traffic to stop or make way.
What could the police do?
It would be too embarrassing to arrest a bunch of decorated war veterans marching down the street on Veterans Day, so the police did the only thing they could do, which was to quickly halt and reroute traffic, and then escort us through the entire designated parade route.
That night, on the television news, I saw the same thing had happened in Colorado with the veterans there also refusing to be kept from marching in their parade by a mere blizzard.
So, where are our local veterans organizations today?
Aren't they the ones who are responsible for educating the public and preserving our heritage?
These are my thoughts.
What are yours?
Do you think I'm making something out of nothing by my insistence that Veterans Day activities continue to begin at the Eleventh Hour on the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month?
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