As we are about to observe Veterans Day next Monday, Nov. 11, it will do well to recognize the history of the national holiday.

It all started with the signing of the armistice to end World War 1. This came on Nov. 11, 1918, at 11 a.m. – or 11-11/11. (That’s why Veterans Day ceremonies begin at 11 a.m.).

By 1938, some 27 states observed Armistice Day, so Congress enacted it as a federal holiday. Then in the ‘50s, several holidays – Armistice Day among them – were legally switched to Mondays.

By 1971 public sentiment caused Congress to change the name to Veterans Day to honor all who served in the military – past and present. Its first observance under its new name was in late October of that year.

But President Gerald Ford, himself a Navy veteran, didn’t care for the rotating date. He urged a permanent change of date to Nov. 11, and Congress agreed. It’s been Nov. 11 ever since.

And it should be noted that Nov. 11-17 is Veterans Awareness Week. If you have one in the household, bring him or her downtown to our local ceremony next Monday.


Times flies when you’re having fun. I find myself in that circumstance with the Boy Scout program.

It all started when I turned nine years old and joined the Cub Scouts. Three years later I became a Boy Scout and the fun really began. Trips from the Mid-west to National jamborees on both coasts, plus 10 days at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico were highlights of my growing up.

As an adult I became involved with the BSA program in Oregon for a couple of years, then renewed my membership here in Patterson when my own sons reached Scouting age. That involved first the Cub Scouts, working with the late Jack Dolzadelli, and then in 1978 when several of us revived Patterson Troop 81.

Our troop did some traveling – three times to the east coast, each time for two-week adventures, and once to Calgary, British Columbia, to visit a World Jamboree. On eight occasions we camped at Lava Beds National Monument near the Oregon border, and once ventured back to Minnesota to canoe in the Boundary Waters area.

The years rolled along, and after joining with Eric Langstaff in 2010 to found local Troop 82. I ended up logging well over 30 years as a scoutmaster and attended summer camp for 27 years.

The experiences were memorable. The friendships with other Scouters (adults) such as Paul Borchardt and former Scouts including over 50 who earned the Eagle rank are valued and will not be forgotten.

That summation outlines 55 years with the program, and this week I attended my final meeting – this one for district adults held near Livingston. Driving over and back to that meeting, I had the opportunity to silently review those 55 years and the many young men who hopefully learned some of life’s lessons before stepping out into the world on their own. My wish is that they enjoyed it as much as I did.


• Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s right-hand guru, reportedly is unpaid for advising The Donald. But Rudy has done enough and said enough to find himself in a pickle – enough of one that news reports claim he is seeking legal advice for himself. When attorneys need to retain attorneys, it’s time to pay close attention to what is going on.

• Welcome home, Emily. College student Emily Langstaff, daughter of Eric and Barbara Langstaff, returned home last Friday after nearly two months of recuperation in Modesto medical facilities. She was critically injured back around Labor Day in a vehicle accident on West Main. It will take many months, but a full recovery is expected.

• West Sider Richard Pires is added to our 90-plus list. He observed his 90th birthday early last month. And we have others on the waiting list.

• Yes, Patterson now has a community choir, which has been invited to sing at next Monday’s Veterans Day ceremony in our downtown park. To my knowledge, this may be its first public performance. Now, how about a community band? Heck, we had one 100 years ago.

• Opening my junk mail the other day, out slid a crisp new $2 bill. It came from a college back east to which I have never donated (and don’t plan to). Showing it to HM (Housemate), I learned that she had no knowledge that U.S. currency included $2 bills. To be honest, I hadn’t seen one myself for decades.


Remember when the headlight dimmer switch in vehicles was on the floor board?

If you do, then you are a Person of Maturity.


Here we are, well along in the college football season, and we have televised mismatches such as this one played last Saturday.

That would be No. 4 Clemson, the reigning national champion, playing little Wofford before a home crowd. It was 28-0 halfway through the first quarter and 42-0 at halftime. The Tigers let up after the intermission and eventually won 59-14.

But what a mismatch!


A friend of mine (we actually date back to grade school) recently sent me this observation:

“I thought getting old would take longer.”


Ron Swift is editor/publisher emeritus of the Patterson Irrigator. He can be reached at

PI editor/publisher emeritus

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