3 Nov 2013 - “Spring Forward, Fall Back” Why???

We have just gone through the November weekend where everyone in the United States (except residents in Arizona and Hawaii) had to “Fall Back”, move the clocks back one hour to end this year’s session of Daylight Saving Time. Once again, as I have for decades, I have to ask “WHY? Why do we have to go through this twice-a-year time-wasting routine of changing our clocks? I know, most of our electronic clocks now change time automatically, so it’s easier, but what do we gain?

DST has an interesting history and, by no means, is it a relatively new idea. It was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin in 1784 to economize the use of candles by rising earlier to make use of morning sunlight.

It was first adopted in Germany in World War I to replace artificial lighting so they could save fuel for the war effort. Other European countries followed suit. In this country, President Roosevelt instituted year-round DST called “War Time” during World War II from February 9, 1942 to September 30, 1945. I remember making my one-mile morning walk to school by moonlight because the sun didn’t rise until 8:30 in the winter in Wisconsin.

Daylight Saving Time caused major confusion from 1945 to 1966 when states and localities were free to choose when and if they would observe it. Train, bus and airline schedules were thrown into a total state of confusion. The 1973 oil embargo caused Congress to extend DST to 10 months in 1974 and 8 months in 1975.

The current schedule, from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November, went into effect in 2007 and that is why, unless you forgot and arrived at church an hour early, we moved our clocks back one hour this first weekend of November. I continue to wonder what we gain. In the days following World War II, farmers were against DST for various reasons that no longer exist, the strangest one that cows would produce less milk because of the time change.

So why don’t we adopt a 12-month time schedule and do away with this twice-a-year clock change; make it year-round Standard Time or Daylight Saving Time. I don’t care which one we choose, but I think most people would prefer DST. To sum it all up, years ago, a good friend gave me the best definition of Daylight Saving Time...It is like cutting a foot off the bottom of the blanket and sewing it on the top to make the blanket longer. It doesn’t, of course, and DST doesn’t create another hour of sunshine either, so let’s do away with it.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez