Today is Eleven Eleven Oh Seven.
And in four years this would be Eleven Eleven Eleven.
Today is Veteran's Day in the U.S. In England I think they still call it Armistice Day... which is what I remember it being called here when I was but a child... and which is what I still think of it as being.
Yes, I also think of Memorial Day as being Decoration Day.
We owe so much to those who have fought to defend us. They didn't do it to get a fancy license plate or to save a few bucks on their property tax, they did it because it had to be done. My father never thought he would survive landing at Utah Beach on D-Day, but he did. And he made it through the war with just one goal, surviving so he could get back home to us, to his family. He refused for years -- decades -- to claim a veteran's exemption on his real estate taxes until more than forty years after the war when the local politicians pissed him off so much that he did it to thumb his nose at them (substitute the hand gesture of your choice). Dad died in 1992 at the age of 85. Last week marked the 101st anniversary of his birth.
Earlier this fall Nancy's youngest brother returned home from his second tour of duty in Iraq.
Nancy and I got in a long walk today, a bit over four miles.
We walked over to the bike path and went just a short distance on the path itself before cutting over to the park and athletic fields behind one of the middle schools (interestingly, the park has no real name -- the town Web site just calls it the "Junior High Playfields" (the middle school used to be a junior high school) so I suppose if somebody came along with a million bucks as a donation they could end up with a park named in their honor. (Hey, if you have some extra millions, why not give it some thought? Reduce my tax bill. Thank you.)
Nancy wanted to explore a bit so we veered off the paved road and followed the cross-country path through the woods (that is, the path where the high school cross-country practices and has their home meets) We followed the path to where it touched the bike path and then retraced our step a bit and cut around the east side of a pond...
Once past the pond, we cut to our right and came out on the road through the athletic fields again and followed that uphill, past the playground and the soccer fields and the softball fields, and then cut across some grass and through a small bit of woods and into a fairly new neighborhood that was build just north of the park area. We walked through that neighborhood, looking at the houses... and then found a path that led us to an even newer development just north of that one. This newest neighborhood had some some houses already sold and occupied and some with "Sale Pending" signs and a couple just having the finishing touches put on them. There appears to be room for at least two or three more new houses there... I wonder how sales are going (and if they are having to cut prices). We then retraced our steps back through these new neighborhoods and back into the park and down the hill. We turned off the paved road again to follow the cross-country trail, this time following it along the north side of the pond and then along the west end until we came back to where the cross-country trail touched the bike path.
We followed the bike path to the regular neighborhood streets. It seemed to my tired feet that we had to have covered more than three miles, perhaps even four. So I checked it out online using a googlehack that lets you measure distances covered and found that we had covered a little bit over four miles (in about an hour and a quarter). A beautiful sunny day, deep blue cloud-free sky, but a bit brisk, just slightly above freezing.