Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Them and us

It was George Bernard Shaw who described England and America as two countries divided by a common language.  I don't know if the fact that GBS was Irish has anything to do with him referring to 'England' rather than Britain, but does it really matter?

I suppose we all know that each country uses some words in a different way to the other.  We say petrol, they say gas; we say boot, they say trunk, and so on.  But it's not just words that are used differently.

This past weekend has included the late spring bank holiday here in England.  Monday was also a public holiday in the States: Memorial Day, the day when the people of the USA remember those members of the armed forces who gave their lives for their country.  Our equivalent is Remembrance Sunday, the Sunday nearest to 11th November.  It used to be called Armistice Day and was marked on 11th November, the day on which the First World War ended.  As it is, and never was, a public holiday in Britain, the day's events were moved to the nearest Sunday to avoid causing disturbance to the working week.

I understand (although I could well be quite wrong) that it is in November that the USA marks Veterans' Day, a day when all ex-servicemen are honoured.  We don't really have an equivalent day, although a few years ago there was an attempt to introduce an Armed Forces Day to be celebrated in June each year.  Again, this would be on a Sunday so there would be no question of another bank holiday!  But Armed Forces Day has never really caught on, despite several towns and cities holding military parades.


(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

Veterans Day over here used to be called Armistice Day because, of course, it is November 11.
We have Armed Forces Day, but it isn't a holiday, on May 16.

Brighton Pensioner said...

Thanks, Skip.