Friday, November 11, 2011

Armistice Day in the Digital Age: 11 am on 11/11/11

There is something inherently cosmic/Matrix when the numeric dates that we look at so casually in everyday life reset themselves into such a clean declaration of the primary of the binary code: 1. It also looks like the great slot machine of life has spun and landed on all stars.

Oddly enough, the magnetism of this number was felt back in 1918. Germany had surrendered, and someone decided that the formal Armistice agreement would be signed on 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. That set a century of observances in motion, as the magnitude of the devastation to people’s lives became clearer and clearer as the years passed and the human spirit needed some sort of ritual to help it heal from the madness.

We called today Armistice Day until 1954, when Eisenhower signed into law the broader All Veterans Day, which became just Veterans Day. That was an excellent idea. We have Memorial Day to honor the dead; we need something to help us think about the living, all those individuals who have served in war and peace. The Department of Veterans Affairs has a website with information about volunteering, helping Veterans in various ways, and I learned that there is a VA hospital at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn.

Americans never picked up the British honor of 2-minutes of silence, but many people will give some kind of thought to 11:00 am today.

These terrific photos are from The Guardian: British troops in Afghanistan; Veterans in London; 2 minutes of silence at Lloyds of London.


Anonymous said...

It is interesting that you should note the binary significance of 11-11-11. The local Makers group (tech hobbyists) had an open house for the "Last Binary Day" (until a hundred years from now). I dropped by and saw several interesting projects. When one guy began to start up a homemade turbojet engine I decided I needed to be home.

For the actual meaning of the date, it is so needed and proper to say "thanks" to those still here who serve(d). As my wife says "flowers for the living". Also, others we should thank are military families. The spouses and children of a military member bear a substantial burden in their support.

M.A.Peel said...

Anon, thanks for stopping by. You're so very right about thanks to the families (and your wife reminding all about "flowers for the living")