On the eleventh day of the eleventh month at the eleventh hour, Veterans Day will be observed across America. There will be memorial services in schools, at memorial sites, and in other public settings. The Aurora Public Library District will be closed on November 11, as will most government facilities, but what exactly is Veterans Day? How did Veterans Day begin? The Library has plenty of material about Veterans Day that you can check out, but for right now, here’s a small crash course.
In 1918 a truce was declared between the Allied Nations and the Germans during World War I on November 11. And while the official end of the Great War did not come until the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, for many Americans, the ending had occurred with the declaration of peace the previous November. Armistice Day was officially celebrated on November 11, 1919 at President Woodrow Wilson’s proclamation. Armistice Day was declared a legal federal holiday in 1938. In 1954, President Eisenhower renamed Armistice Day to Veterans Day after World War II and the war with Korea. Veterans Day honors all American veterans, living or dead, who have served in all wars. Veterans Day is also a day to thank living veterans who have served during wartime and peacetime.
During World War I, Canadian John McCrae penned the poem, “In Flanders Fields” in 1915 after a friend of his was killed during the Second Battle of Ypres. His poem is the reason that poppies — particularly the red corn poppy — have become the symbol for the remembrance of fallen soldiers. In 1920, the American Legion adopted the poppy as a symbol of remembrance thanks to the efforts of Moina Michael.
There are approximately 23.2 million military veterans living in the United States, with 9.2 million veterans over the age of 65 and 1.9 million veterans under the age of 35. There are plenty of ways you can let a veteran know that you appreciate them, but the most simple and underrated way is just to thank veterans for their service. It is especially important for younger people to acknowledge and thank veterans, but every American should always thank veterans and acting military members for their service.
On behalf of everyone at the Aurora Public Library District, I want to say thank you to each and every veteran for his or her service.
If you’re looking for the next book to make you laugh out loud one minute and weep the next, then Nora McInerny Purmort’s memoir It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too) is the perfect fit for you. In 271 pages, Purmort offers advice, anecdotes, and glimpses into her past to help those who are grieving the loss of a loved one or for those who have watched someone grieve and might not have known what to say or do. Purmort does not claim to be an expert on grief, but she does offer her own story of losing her husband, father, and baby within weeks of each other and how she’s working on getting through it.
Nora’s boyfriend Aaron is diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer for which there is no cure. In the subsequent weeks and years following his diagnosis, Nora and Aaron decide to get married and have a baby. In the memoir, Nora emphasizes how important it is to live in the moment because we never know what is coming around the corner. She only got three years to be Aaron’s wife but, as she reiterates throughout the memoir, there is nothing she would have changed, not even the petty parts. It is important to remember that we are all imperfect humans who do and say imperfect things, especially in times of great sadness and loss.
Purmort constantly surprises the reader throughout the memoir by cutting through the thick sadness that surrounds the deaths of those she loves with humorous stories and vignettes into her own life. Rather than focusing her memoir on the respective deaths of her father and husband, Purmort instead offers memories and stories of her loved ones as she chooses to remember them in life. She is a gifted storyteller who can make her readers laugh one sentence, cry the next, and then laugh hysterically again in the next paragraph. Purmort manages to make her readers feel like an old friend in the way that she bares her thoughts and feelings, both good and bad.
This memoir is kind of like an unofficial guidebook for dealing with grief or how to approach a situation in which someone else is grieving and not knowing what to say or do. Nora McInerny Purmort is incredibly snarky, sassy, sarcastic, serious, and sad all in one book. Even if you aren’t experiencing the immense grief that comes with the loss of a loved one, It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying is Cool Too) is a must-read for the fall.
Tuesday, November 1 is National Author’s Day! Technology and social media make it easier than ever before to stay connected to our favorite writers. If you follow them on Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, Facebook, or any other social media platform, you can send them messages whenever you want, and you might even get a response! Here are some ways you can celebrate National Author’s Day this year:
Check out books by your favorite authors from the Library and post them to social media with#NationalAuthorsDay. Be sure to tag the author in the post so they’ll see how much you appreciate them!
Post comments on their websites about how much you appreciate their writing. Writing can be a lonely business with long hours and numerous frustrations along the way. Your kind words will be much appreciated.
Write reviews of your favorite books either on Goodreads, Amazon, or whatever platform you use. On Goodreads, you can ask authors questions and sometimes you’ll get a reply, which is the coolest thing in the world.
Let the aspiring authors in your life know that you appreciate them, too. It isn’t easy to create something out of nothing, and it’s even harder when you face rejection after rejection from publishers. A nice card or
text (or candy!) would be a great way to let them know that you’re rooting for them.
My favorite way to celebrate National Author’s Day is to curl up with some books by my favorite authors (Rick Riordan, Meg Cabot, the Brontë sisters….) and read all day long. How will you celebrate National Author’s Day?