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Article Archive >> Community

Reflections: Spring forward fall back!

Reflections
Spring forward fall back!
By William L. Bulla

Have you even thought of Daylight Saving Time? It's only a few days from now. At 2am on Sunday, March 13, we will move our clocks ahead one hour. Many of us just go along with Daylight Saving Time and never think anything about it. It just happens and we change our clocks. But that does not sit well with a great portion of the people in our nation, and the world. I have numerous farmer and dairymen friends who find a problem with the daylight saving program. You see, the cows, sheep and other animals don't understand why politicians want to change mealtime for them. But, neither do the people having to feed these animals. In wintertime, dairy farmers already have to rise while it is dark, and begin their work in the coldest part of the night.
I believe that back in 1784, when Benjamin Franklin suggested Daylight Saving Time he didn't think about the animals either. However, it wasn't until World War II that Daylight Saving Time was implemented in many European countries, and from there to the U.S.
First thing, let's get the name correct! The official name is Daylight Saving Time, not Daylight Savings Time. Nevertheless, many people feel the word savings (with an 's') is the word to use. Daylight Savings Time, even though it is incorrect, is also in common usage, and can be found in dictionaries. On the internet, I discovered someone has said that the phrase Daylight Saving Time is inaccurate, since no daylight is actually saved, and suggested the name Daylight Shifting Time would be better, and Daylight Time Shifting more accurate, but neither is politically desirable.
Why do many countries observe Daylight Standard Time, and many do not? The reason is because many countries hope to make better use of the daylight in the evenings, and some believe that it could be linked to reducing the amount of road accidents and injuries. The extra hour of daylight in the evening is said to give children more social time with friends and family and can even boost the tourism industry because it increases the amount of outdoor activities.
Daylight Saving Time is also considered as a means to save energy due to less artificial light needed during the evening hours-clocks are set one hour ahead during the spring, and one hour back to standard time in the autumn. However, while some studies agree about the energy savings of Daylight Saving Time, others do not. Does it cost anything more to use a light bulb at one time of the day more than another? We may not need it in the evening, but we sure do on those dark, early mornings.
It is difficult to predict what will happen with Daylight Saving Time in the future. The daylight saving date in many countries may change from time to time due to special events or conditions. The United States, Canada and some other countries extended Daylight Saving Time in 2007. In the United States, clocks change at 2am local time. In spring, clocks spring forward from 1:59am to 3am; in fall, clocks fall back from 1:59am to 1am Assuming most people are asleep by 2am, it has been selected as the time to make the change of time in the United States, thus diminishing disruption. However, many states restrict bars from serving alcohol between 2am and 6am At 2am in the fall, however, the time switches back one hour. So, can bars serve alcohol for that additional hour? Some states claim that bars actually stop serving liquor at 1:59am, so they have already stopped serving when the time reverts to Standard Time. Other states solve the problem by saying that liquor can be served until "two hours after midnight." In practice, however, many establishments stay open an extra hour in the fall.
To make it easier to remember which way the clock goes, keep in mind one of these sayings: "spring forward, fall back" or "spring ahead, fall behind.
During World War II, President Franklin Roosevelt instituted year-round Daylight Saving Time, called "War Time," from February 9, 1942 to September 30, 1945. In the period from 1945 to 1966, there was no federal law regarding Daylight Saving Time, so states and localities were free to choose whether or not to observe Daylight Saving Time and could choose when it began and ended. This caused confusion for the broadcasting industry, and the railways, airlines, and bus companies.
On January 4, 1974, President Nixon signed into law the Emergency Daylight Saving Time Energy Conservation Act of 1973. Then, beginning on January 6, 1974, implementing the Daylight Saving Time Energy Act, clocks were set ahead. On October 5, 1974, Congress amended the Act, and Standard Time returned on October 27, 1974. Daylight Saving Time resumed on February 23, 1975 and ended on October 26, 1975.
The current start date is the second Sunday in March (previously the first Sunday in April) through to the first Sunday in November (previously the last Sunday in October).
It is the law of our country to recognize Daylight Saving Time but my dairymen and farmer friends are still asking "WHY?"

William L. Bulla is a freelance writer residing in Washington County.

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