Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Armistice Day

The 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month. Most people who know those words relate them to Veteran's Day, the day and time World War One ended. Few take note anymore of August the 14th, 1945 when the Second World War ended. There are always wars. There are always soldiers.While all honor should be given to those who serve, in many times and countries unwillingly, let's look again at the original resolution concerning this day from the Congress of the United States, adopted on June the 4th, 1926:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

A 1938 act established 'Armistice Day' as a national U.S. holiday to honor those who fought that war, and to be dedicated to world peace.

 In 1954, after lobbying efforts by WWII veterans, the act which created "Armistice Day' was amended to remove the word 'Armistice' and replace it with "Veterans". The concept of 'peace' was left out of the amended version.

In our world, one returning to glorification of soldiering and of the military, it's time to get back to the original concept. It's time to lobby the governments of the world to spend, dollar for dollar, as much money waging peace as they spend waging war. The war I think most people would like to see declared would be a war on poverty, on want, on disease, on intolerance, on lack of education, not war to determine who controls land, or money, or people.

It has been estimated that if the major countries of the world gave the amount each spends on one week of their military budget, hunger could be eliminated worldwide. Forget for a moment the logistics and the seeming impossibility of that being accomplished. What that estimate really says is that financially it can be done, and it wouldn't cost all that much. What it says is that we lack the will to do it.

So forgive me for not observing this day by waving the flag of my nation (or any nation); forgive me for not remembering those who follow orders without question; forgive me for not honoring those in or out of the military who 'preserve peace'. I prefer instead to honor when it actually once happened. I prefer to remember a day when peace broke out.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Through a Veil of Indifference

On November the 4th, 1944, the election was just three days away when ads for the Democrats began to appear in the local paper - the President had thought it unseemly to campaign while there was a war on. The ads for the challenger, the Governor of New York, had been appearing for several days.


On the radio early that afternoon was the 25th Eddie Condon Jazz Concert, broadcast on the Blue Network. The Blue had been one of NBC's two networks which, along with NBC Red, was owned by radio manufacturer RCA. It was spun off into its own entity after the government decided that no company  should be allowed to own two networks. The Blue would later become the American Broadcasting Company. Later that afternoon, Mr. Condon and about 30 "hot" musicians were going to appear at Carnegie Hall; several of his friends showed up for the broadcast. One of those friends, Red McKenzie, known for playing the 'jazz comb', provided one of his occasional vocals for the rarely heard "Through a Veil of Indifference".    It may just be the find of my entire show. 

I hope listeners enjoy the show.
It should, at the very least, end any cases of 'intolerable severity'.