Monday November 11, 2013
Happy Armistice Day, When the Songs That We Sing Will Be Sad
Our holidays morph, don't they? FOX-News is right about that but it's not a war and it's not specific to Christmas. It's just change, which FOX-News, absolutists all, can't comprehend. Washington's Birthday becomes Presidents Day (here's to Warren Harding! Herbert Hoover! George W. Bush!), while today, the day Word War I ended, Armistice Day, becomes, in the states anyway, Veterans Day. It's not much of a holiday in that most of us still go to work. If it were a true holiday, if it made sense as a holiday, then veterans would get it off. Why not? Why should I get a holiday for their service? And why shouldn't they for theirs?
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, Nov. 11 became a legal holiday, Armistice Day, in 1938, three years before Paul Simon was born, and in 1954, when Simon was 13, it became Veterans Day, a day to honor the veterans of all of our many wars. So Simon certainly remembers when it was Armistice Day. That phrase may even be tinged with nostalgia for him. It may be why he wrote the song “Armistice Day” in 1968:
On Armistice Day
The Philharmonic will play
But the songs that we sing
Will be sad
There's also these words that never go out of style:
Oh, Iím weary from waiting
In Washington, D.C.
Iím coming to see my congressman
But heís avoiding me
Weary from waiting down in Washington, D.C.
Anyway, here's to the war to end all wars.