# Holidays



Yes, Santa, there was a Virginia

Herb Strentz was dean of the Drake School of Journalism from 1975 to 1988 and professor there until retirement in 2004. He was executive secretary of the Iowa Freedom of Information Council from its founding in 1976 to 2000.

Given all the hoopla and hokum—and bitterness of kicking someone in the teeth—about the legend that there once was a celebrated Iowa caucus, let’s get back to reality.

Let’s consider whether there once was a Virginia who wondered about Santa Claus, and whether he actually was a fellow who dealt with things that really mattered—like merriment, consideration of others, and even being jolly.

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Holidays: an opportunity to help others in need

Steve Corbin is emeritus professor of marketing at the University of Northern Iowa and a freelance writer who receives no remuneration, funding, or endorsement from any for-profit business, nonprofit organization, political action committee, or political party.      

Thankfully we are nearly six weeks past the 2022 midterm election. I can hear many voters exuding a sigh of relief and shouting, after $17 billion was spent on disinformation, misinformation, and the occasional truthful political ad, “yes, finally, the election is over.”

Normal life is back, and we’ve jumped right into the holiday season. Let’s ponder how to make this year’s holiday season better than we’ve experienced heretofore.

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Honoring all victims of war, including those who resisted

David McCartney is retired University of Iowa Archivist, a position he held from 2001 until 2022. He delivered these remarks on November 11, 2022 at the Veterans for Peace event on Iowa City’s Ped Mall.

Thank you all for joining us this morning as we observe Armistice Day.

The original intent of this day, and our observance of it at this hour, is to commemorate the agreement that ended the First World War, an agreement signed in France between Germany and the Allied forces.

It was a prelude to peace negotiations, beginning on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, in 1918. Armistice is Latin for “to stand or still arms.”

By an act of Congress in 1954, the name of the holiday was changed to Veterans Day. Some, including the novelist Kurt Vonnegut and Rory Fanning of Veterans for Peace, have urged the U.S. to resume observation of November 11th as Armistice Day, a day to reflect on how we can achieve peace as it was originally observed.

It is in that spirit that we honor the original intent of Armistice Day this morning by honoring all victims of war, including those who resisted war, those who have advocated for peace.

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Emancipation jubilation

This column by Daniel G. Clark about Alexander Clark (1826-1891) first appeared in the Muscatine Journal.

Juneteenth is an easy holiday to miss if you aren’t watching for it. Still, we Iowans pride ourselves on being out in front on justice and equality, so this is for us.

You probably know it’s about the Emancipation Proclamation and the outpouring of jubilation when the long-delayed news finally reached Texas.

Did you know Governor Tom Vilsack signed a bill in 2002 declaring the third Saturday in June as Juneteenth National Freedom Day in Iowa? Then last year, amid a season of “racial reckoning,” President Joe Biden signed the bill designating Juneteenth a federal holiday.

The historic pages of the Muscatine Journal yield few mentions of the word. The first I find is a 1985 column by Aldeen Davis, titled “Texas has its own holiday.”

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What is this day about?

U.S. Army veteran Joe Stutler shares his keynote address (as prepared) for the Cedar Rapids Memorial Day ceremony in 2019.

One Veteran’s perspective on the meaning of Memorial Day:

Good morning…..

You’re asking yourselves, “who is this guy and why is he here?”….I wondered the same thing when Linn County Director of Veteran Affairs Don Tyne called me several weeks ago from the Commission meeting to ask if I’d be willing to speak today.

Why me, I asked? I’m not a retired general, not a Medal of Honor recipient, not a Congresscritter or Governor or the like….heck, I’m not even running for office….

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