Daily Update: Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

Martin of Tours and Veteran's Day (Traditional) and Veteran's Day (Observed)

Today is the Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop (died 397), and today is also Veterans Day, Veteran’s Day (Observed), and the birthday of Shelia, one of my kids’ friends (1984). And Early Voting continues for the November 21st, 2015 Louisiana Gubernatorial General Election.

Born about 316 at Upper Pannonia (in modern Hungary), the father of today’s Saint was a Roman military officer and tribune. Martin was raised in Pavia, Italy, and discovered Christianity, becoming a catechumen, in his early teens. He joined the Roman imperial army at age 15, serving in a ceremonial unit that acted as the emperor’s bodyguard and was rarely exposed to combat. As a cavalry officer, he was assigned to garrison duty in Gaul (modern France). Baptised into the Church at age 18, he tried to live out his faith, refusing to let his servant wait on him. Legend holds that once, while on horseback in Amiens in Gaul, he encountered a beggar. Having nothing to give but the clothes on his back, Martin cut his heavy officer’s cloak in half, and gave it to the beggar. Later he had a vision of Christ wearing the cloak. This incident became iconographic of Martin. Just before a battle, Martin announced that his faith prohibited him from fighting. He was charged with cowardice, was jailed, and his superiors planned to put him in the front of the battle. However, the invaders sued for peace, the battle never occurred, and Martin was released from military service at Worms, Germany. On a visit to Lombardy to see his parents, Martin was robbed in the mountains, but managed to convert one of the thieves. At home he found that his mother had become a Christian, but his father had not. The area was strongly Arian, and openly hostile to Catholics. Martin was badly abused by the heretics, at one point even by the order of an Arian bishop. Learning that the Arians had gained the upper hand in Gaul and exiled Saint Hilary, the Bishop of Potiers, Martin fled to the island of Gallinaria (modern Isola d’Albenga). Learning that the emperor had authorized the return of Hilary, Martin ran to him in 361, then became a hermit for ten years in the area now known as Ligugé. A reputation for holiness attracted other monks, and they formed what would become the Benedictine abbey of Ligugé. Martin preached and evangelized through the Gallic countryside. Many locals held strongly to the old beliefs, and tried to intimidate Martin by dressing as the old Roman gods and appearing to him at night; the unintimidated Martin destroyed old temples, built churches on the same land, and continued to win converts. When the bishop of Tours, France died in 371, Martin was the immediate choice to replace him. Martin declined, citing unworthiness,l and would not come to Tours. Rusticus, a wealthy citizen of Tours, claimed that his wife was ill and asking for Martin; tricked by this ruse, Martin went to the city where he was declared bishop by popular acclamation, and then consecrated in 372. As bishop, he lived in a hermit’s cell near Tours. Other monks joined him, and a new house, Marmoutier, soon formed. He rarely left his monastery or see city, but sometimes went to Trier, Germany to plead with the emperor for his city, his church, or his parishioners. Once when he went to ask for lenience for a condemned prisoner, an angel woke the emperor to tell him that Martin was waiting to see him; the prisoner was reprieved. Martin himself was given to visions, but even his contemporaries sometimes ascribed them to his habit of lengthy fasts. He was the first non-martyr to receive the cultus of a saint, and is the Patron Saint of beggars, cavalry, horses, innkeepers, quartermasters, reformed alcoholics, wine growers, and the the Pontifical Swiss Guards, and his aid is invoked against poverty and alcoholism. St. Martinville is one of the oldest towns in Louisiana, and has a gorgeous church dedicated to St. Martin of Tours (and a statue of Delores Del Rio outside, representing Evangeline; Del Rio had played the role in the 1929 movie of the same name). Today is also Veterans Day. Formerly Armistice Day or Remembrance Day (celebrating the end of the Great War in 1918, and remembering the sacrifices made by those who died in the War), in 1938 the United States Congress made Armistice Day into a federal holiday. In 1953 an Emporia, Kansas shoe store owner named Alfred King had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who served in World War I. King had been actively involved with the American War Dads during World War II. He began a campaign to turn Armistice Day into “All” Veterans Day. The Emporia Chamber of Commerce took up the cause after determining that 90% of Emporia merchants as well as the Board of Education supported closing their doors on November 11th to honor veterans. With the help of then-U.S. Representative Ed Rees, also from Emporia, a bill for the holiday was pushed through Congress. President Dwight Eisenhower signed it into law on May 26th, 1954. Congress amended this act on June 1st, 1954, replacing “Armistice” with Veterans, and it has been known as Veterans Day since. Although originally scheduled for celebration on November 11th of every year, starting in 1971 in accordance with the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October. In 1978 it was moved back to its original celebration on November 11th, although if it falls during a weekend, the Federal Holiday is moved to the nearest Friday or Monday. As November 11th this year is not a Saturday or Sunday, that means that today is also Veterans Day (Observed). Finally, today is the birthday of Sheila, who is one of the friends of my kids (1984), and Early Voting continues for the November 21st, 2015 Louisiana Gubernatorial General Election.

Last night, fans of the New Orleans Pelicans were gratified that they beat the Dallas Mavericks by the score of 120 to 105.

I did set my alarm, but ignored it, and woke up at my sister’s house in Ashland, Kentucky 8:30 am. Richard took our car and Liz Ellen’s truck to the car wash. I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, then read the local paper while eating a light breakfast of toast. When Richard got back, he started our laundry.

Liz Ellen and I left at 11:30 am, and at 11:48 am the New Moon arrived. We ate lunch at the Carter Caves State Resort restaurant, and I posted to Facebook that today was Veterans Day; we did not see any of the caves, as the Bat Cave closed for the season on Labor Day. On our way back home I traded texts with Nedra (more anon) When we got back we took Liz Ellen’s car through the car wash. We then went to Wal-Mart, and headed home.

When we arrived back at Liz Ellen’s house the guys were there taking out her old heater. (They will install the new one tomorrow.) Richard finished the laundry, and we ate dinner (Italian stuffed spinach shells and green salad), prepared by Liz Ellen. And at 7:30 pm we watched Jeopardy! Later tonight our New Orleans Pelicans (1-6, 15th Western) will play an away game with the Atlanta Hawks (7-2, 2nd Eastern); I will report the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the Memorial of Saint Josaphat Kuntsevych, Bishop and Martyr (died 1623), and the birthday of Richard’s sister Bonnie in Texas (1944). And Early Voting continues for the November 21st, 2015 Louisiana Gubernatorial General Election. We will say our goodbyes to Liz Ellen (she will come down to visit me at Christmas) and head south and west into the Central Time Zone. We will meet Nedra for lunch, and then fetch up for the night farther on down the road.

Our Parting Quote on this Veterans Day Wednesday Evening comes to us from Peter Drucker, Austrian-born writer and management consultant. Born in 1909 in Kaasgraben, Vienna, Austria-Hungary, he grew up in a home where intellectuals, high government officials, and scientists would meet to discuss new ideas. After graduating from Döbling Gymnasium, Drucker found few opportunities for employment in post-Habsburg Vienna, so he moved to Hamburg, Germany, first working as an apprentice at an established cotton trading company, then as a journalist, writing for Der Österreichische Volkswirt (The Austrian Economist). Drucker then moved to Frankfurt, where he took a job at the Daily Frankfurter General-Anzeiger. While in Frankfurt, he also earned a doctorate in international law and public law from the University of Frankfurt in 1931. As a young writer, Drucker wrote two pieces (one on the conservative German philosopher Friedrich Julius Stahl and another called “The Jewish Question in Germany”) that were burned and banned by the Nazis. In 1933 Drucker left Germany for England; in London, he worked for an insurance company, then as the chief economist at a private bank. He also reconnected with Doris Schmitz, an acquaintance from the University of Frankfurt; they married in 1934, and the couple permanently relocated to the United States, where he became a university professor as well as a free-lance writer and business consultant. In 1943 Drucker became a naturalized citizen of the United States. His career as a business thinker took off in 1942, when his initial writings on politics and society won him access to the internal workings of General Motors (GM), one of the largest companies in the world at that time. The resulting book, Concept of the Corporation (1946), popularized GM’s multidivisional structure and led to numerous articles, consulting engagements, and additional books. Drucker taught that management is “a liberal art,” and he infused his management advice with interdisciplinary lessons from history, sociology, psychology, philosophy, culture and religion. He taught at Bennington College from 1942 to 1949, then at New York University as a Professor of Management from 1950 to 1971. Drucker came to California in 1971, where he developed one of the country’s first executive MBA programs for working professionals at Claremont Graduate University (then known as Claremont Graduate School). From 1971 to his death he was the Clarke Professor of Social Science and Management at Claremont Graduate University. The university’s management school was named the “Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management” (later known as the “Peter F. Drucker and Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management”) in his honor in 1987. He taught his last class at the school in 2002 at age 92. Drucker’s writings cover seventy years, and were marked by a focus on relationships among human beings, as opposed to the crunching of numbers. His books were filled with lessons on how organizations can bring out the best in people, and how workers can find a sense of community and dignity in a modern society organized around large institutions (died 2005): “Knowing Yourself …We also seldom know what gifts we are not endowed with. We will have to learn where we belong, what we have to learn to get the full benefit from our strengths, where our weaknesses lie, what our values are.”

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