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It’s the 11th day of the 11th month

By Dian Vujovich

If it were up to me, Veterans Day would be a national holiday that required the stock market to be closed all day. The bond market is closed. But wouldn’t it be nice if for one day the stock market closed to honor the millions of men and women who have fought and died for our nation. And, by the way, because they did, and still do, have given us a great nation in which to live.

Unfortunately, in this day and age it’s money that’s the driving force behind pretty much everything. Money that I’m guessing would not be so plentiful had there not been veterans to fight in all of the wars America has been in and is a part of.

Now that you know how I really feel, take a moment to reflect on what November 11 represents:

•At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Great War ends. During that First World War, or World War I, nine million soldiers were dead and 21 million were wounded, with Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France, and Great Britain each losing nearly a million or more lives. Five million civilians died from disease, starvation, or exposure.

•From the US Department of Veterans Affairs: “ Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

•Facts about veterans from Wikipedia: There are nearly 22M living US veterans; 6.5M are wartime veterans, 5.5M peacetime; 20M men and 2M women; under age 50 – 28%, 50-64 – 27%, 65 and older – 45%. In the Army there are 9.2M veterans, Navy 4.8M, Air Force 4M, and in the Marines, 2.3M.

•From Marketwatch.com: From 1954 to 2006, stock markets used to observe Veterans Day by shutting down for 2-minutes. That ended in 2007.

Bond markets have never officially been closed for any amount of time on Veterans Day but the bond industry observes the holiday because the U.S. Treasury Department is closed, as it is a federal holiday.

According to that piece, “That means, Treasurys — a big chunk of typical trading activity on regular days and a key benchmark — are also forced to take a holiday.”

It’s too bad WW1 didn’t really mark the end of all wars. Imagine if it had perhaps there would be more respect given to our veterans and less to money.

At 3:15 pm today, (11/11/14) both the DJIA and S&P500 were off slightly from their all-time highs and NASDAQ was up a bit.

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