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November 09. 2013 5:38PM

Joe McQuaid's Publisher's Notebook: Happy day, veterans — you've earned it


 

Happy day, veterans.

Saying it as "Happy Veterans Day" doesn't seem quite right. It's a day set aside for our military veterans and I hope it is a happy day for each and every one of them. They certainly have earned it, and more. And if you see a veteran today, or any day, for that matter, thank him or her for his service to our country.

As for the rest of us, be happy because we still have our freedom, in part because of the sacrifices of veterans past, present, and no doubt in the future.

Veterans Day started out as Armistice Day, signaling the end of, at the time, the worst war in world history. You know, the one that stopped at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the year 1918.

That's pretty eerie timing, as was the fact that the disastrous war was quickly followed by an influenza pandemic that devastated America, including New Hampshire.

Reading the proofs for our newspaper's new book on New Hampshire history, I was fascinated by how Manchester and the state tried to cope with that killer flu. The book will be shipped later this month but people have already put in orders for more than half of the first printing. They won't be disappointed. For information, go to www.UnionLeader.com/150Years.

There's a lot of history packed into the 150 years that our daily newspaper has been covering our city and state. I was there for most of it, of course.

But I can't fault some of the younger news people here who make an occasional history misstep, which sharp-eyed readers always catch.

Our state flag, for instance. It depicts the fighting ship Raleigh, one of the first such commissioned by the Continental Congress to fight the British. It was later commanded by Capt. John Barry, Father of the U.S. Navy. It's a good choice, since it was built at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. The Ranger would have been good, too, since it was built for John Paul Jones at Portsmouth.

But the quirky thing about the depiction is that it shows the Raleigh still on dry land, with timbers bracing its side.

You would think that it would depict a ship at full sail, which is what a recent story mistakenly reported.

The flag changed through the years, at times featuring a cask of rum on the shore (the State Liquor Commission should never have let that one get away), and people on a dock.

All of which shows some things do change in America and some stay the same. Now as then, veterans deserve this special day. So, happy day, veterans.

Write to Joe McQuaid at publisher@unionleader.com or via Twitter at @deucecrew.



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