Today in History with a Twist: November 11, 2013 | Richland Library Skip to content

Today in History with a Twist: November 11, 2013

Thank You!

     Veteran's Day recognizes and honors all of the military veterans who have served our country.  It is celebrated each year on November 11, the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I.  President Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day in 1919, and President Eisenhower changed the name to Veterans Day in 1954.  Similar celebrations take place all across the world.  There are over 20 million veterans living in the United States.  Today, we honor all of those men and women for their patriotism, and their willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good of our country. (

     1921 - The Tomb of the Unknowns is dedicated by US President Warren G. Harding at Arlington National Cemetery. - Taking advantage of the holiday. Now off to the sales.

     1918 - Germany signs an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car in the forest of Compiègne, France.  The fighting officially ends at 11:00 a.m., (the eleventh hour in the eleventh month on the eleventh day) and this is annually honored with a two-minute silence.  The war would officially end with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on 28th June, 1919.  Though Germany was obviously beaten the fact that they still had forces on 'enemy' territory would give rise to the myth that the Army had been 'stabbed in the back' by the politicians.  Coupled with the harsh terms of the treaty and the depression the surrender would set the stage for the Nazi Regime. - While they were at it why didn't they stop the fighting at the 11th minute to make it even cuter?

     1864 - Union General William Tecumseh Sherman begins his March to the Sea by burning Atlanta, Georgia.  Sherman's goal was to march through the Deep South and decisively damage the South's war fighting capability. - Look out Columbia, you're next.

     1972 - In one step closer to total Vietnamization, the United States Army turns over the massive Long Binh military base to South Vietnam.  With what looked like the end of the war in sight the American war plan was turn over the war fighting to the South Vietnamese Army.  An armistice would eventually be put in place in 1973.  President Nixon would secretly promise American air support if the North attacked again.  Unfortunately, none of the parties involved had foreseen Watergate.  With Nixon gone the United States did not live up to the promise and by 1975 the North had overrun the entire country. - 'Peace with honor'

     1926 - The United States Numbered Highway System, including U.S. Route 66, is established.  The system is an integrated network of roads and highways in the United States numbered within a nationwide grid.  As these highways were coordinated among the states, they are sometimes called Federal Highways, but they have always been maintained by state or local governments since their initial designation in 1926.  The route numbers and locations are coordinated by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).  The only federal involvement in AASHTO is a nonvoting seat for the United States Department of Transportation.  Generally, north-to-south highways are odd-numbered, with lowest numbers in the east and highest in the west.  Similarly, west-to-east highways are typically even-numbered, with the lowest numbers in the north and highest in the south.  Major north–south routes have numbers ending in "1" while major east–west routes have numbers ending in "0".  Three-digit numbered highways are spur routes of parent highways but are not necessarily connected to their parents.  Divided routes exist to provide two alignments to one route, even though many have been eliminated, while special routes, usually posted with a banner, can provide various routes, such as an alternate or bypass route, for a U.S. Highway. - Got that?

     1911 - Many cities in the Midwestern United States break their record highs and lows on the same day as a strong cold front rolls through.  Known as the Great Blue Norther of 11/11/1911, the extreme weather was caused by a cold snap that affected the central United States on Saturday, November 11, 1911.  Many cities broke record highs, going into the 70s and 80s early that afternoon.  By nightfall, cities were dealing with temperatures in the teens and single-digits on the Fahrenheit scale.  This is the only day in many Midwest cities' weather bureau jurisdictions where the record highs and lows were broken for the same day.  The extreme weather caused at least 16 tornadoes.  Some cities experienced tornadoes on Saturday and a blizzard on Sunday.  A blizzard even occurred within one hour after an F4 tornado hit Rock County, Wisconsin.  The main cause of such a dramatic cold snap was an extremely strong storm system separating warm, humid air from frigid, arctic air.  Dramatic cold snaps tend to occur mostly in the month of November, though they can also come in February or March. - Think weathermen have trouble getting it right now..........

Today we celebrate the birthdays of:

     1885 - George S. Patton - General (d. 1945) - Had a way with words.

     1922 - Kurt Vonnegut - Author (d. 2007) - Vonnegut's experience as a soldier and prisoner of war had a profound influence on his later work.  As a private with the 423rd Infantry Regiment, 106th Infantry Division, Vonnegut was captured during the Battle of the Bulge on December 19, 1944, after the 106th was cut off from the rest of Courtney Hodges's First Army.  "The other American divisions on our flanks managed to pull out; we were obliged to stay and fight. Bayonets aren't much good against tanks".  Imprisoned in Dresden, he was chosen as a leader of the POWs because he spoke some German.  After telling the German guards "what [he] was going to do to them when the Russians came", he was beaten and had his position as leader taken away.  While a prisoner, he witnessed the firebombing of Dresden in February 1945, which destroyed most of the city.  Vonnegut was one of a group of American prisoners of war to survive the attack in an underground slaughterhouse meat locker used by the Germans as an ad hoc detention facility.  The Germans called the building Schlachthof Fünf ("Slaughterhouse Five") which the Allied POWs adopted as the name for their prison. - Does it all make sense now?

To learn more about the above topics check out the following books from the Library's collection:

Patton: A Genius for War by Carlo D'Este
Amazon Says: A comprehensive biography of General George Patton draws on hitherto unavailable letters, diaries, and memoirs, uncovering many new facts to create an insightful and definitiv more...
Amazon Says: A comprehensive biography of General George Patton draws on hitherto unavailable letters, diaries, and memoirs, uncovering many new facts to create an insightful and definitive portrait of an American military hero. less...

Understanding Kurt Vonnegut by William Rodney Allen
Amazon Says: "Understanding Kurt Vonnegut" is a critical analysis of Vonnegut's novels. After dealing with his early work in science fiction in the 1950s - "Player Piano" and "The Sirens o more...
Amazon Says: "Understanding Kurt Vonnegut" is a critical analysis of Vonnegut's novels. After dealing with his early work in science fiction in the 1950s - "Player Piano" and "The Sirens of Titan" - this study pays special attention to Vonnegut's "major phase" in the 1960s, which consists of four extremely diverse but fully realized novels: "Mother's Night"; "Cat's Cradle"; "God Bless You, Mr Rosewater" and "Slaughterhouse-Five"; the critical backlash that resulted after Vonnegut published "Breakfast of Champions" and "Slapstick" in the 1970s, two admittedly weak novels. In the 1980s, Vonnegut turned away from his characteristic mode of science fiction to what the study calls "social/political realism". "Jailbird", "Deadeye Dick", "Galapagos" and "Bluebeard" are compelling works that prove Vonnegut is still a vital force in contemporary American literature. less...