This Sunday, it’s time to once again spring forward an hour for daylight saving time. When we do, we’ll only be nine days away from March 20 — the first day of spring.
The practice of advancing clocks ahead so that spring and summer evening daylight lasts longer was first proposed by New Zealand entomologist George Hudson in 1895. Hudson initially proposed a two-hour daylight shift to give himself more time to collect insects.
The German Empire, and its World War I ally the Austro-Hungarian Empire, first observed daylight saving time in 1916 to conserve coal during wartime. Other European countries soon adopted the practice. Russia did so in 1917, while the United States adopted it in 1918.
Worldwide, the use of daylight saving time was an on-again, off-again practice until it became widely adopted in North America and Europe during the 1970s energy crisis.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, long-time residents associate springing forward with looking forward to warmer temperatures; longer, sunnier days; and outside activities that don’t involve snow (sorry skiers and snowboarders).
For military families new to the Pacific Northwest, get ready to experience a summer with highs in the 80s, low humidity and daylight that lasts until 9:30 or 10 p.m.
Here on base, one of the first signs of spring is Saturday’s annual ShamROCKin’ Run 5K, which kicks off a series of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation runs from now through December.
The next run is the America’s Armed Forces Kids Run 2018 at Cowan Stadium on April 14, followed by the Down and Dirty Mud Run May 12 at Soldiers Field House.
On May 19, JBLM will celebrate Armed Forces Day with military static displays, carnival rides, military reenactors and food. This event is open to the public, so feel free to bring your friends. It’s a great opportunity to see and touch the military equipment service members train with every day, and to ask Soldiers and Airmen about their day-to-day military life.
JBLM celebrates America’s independence with Summerfest July 3 and Freedom Fest July 4. Cowan and Memorial stadiums on Lewis Main will be decked out in red, white and blue and there will be carnival rides, food and a variety of entertainment.
Summerfest is for Department of Defense ID-card holders and their guests. Freedom Fest is open to the public. It concludes with a concert by America’s I Corps Band and traditional fireworks.
Of course, while summer is a great time to enjoy the great weather, JBLM leaders want you to enjoy it safely — please make safety a priority while you’re having fun.
That means taking extra precautions when you take out the barbecue grill for another season of grilling burger, steaks, hot dogs and whatever else your heart desires. To help you avoid common grilling hazards, we’ll once again start publishing fire safety stories in the Northwest Guardian written by Ed Chavez, Directorate of Emergency Services fire inspector.
Warmer weather also means boating, rafting, swimming and other water sports, so please make water safety a priority, too. Always wear an appropriate flotation device when you’re around the water.
Even strong swimmers can and do drown every year, particularly when the warm temperatures entice them into an early spring dip in a nearby lake or river’s frigid waters. While the air may be warm, the water below the surface isn’t — it’s still ice-cold and can induce hypothermia and cramps very quickly.
Finally, a good practice with changing your clock is changing the batteries in smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
Remember to set your clocks one hour ahead Sunday, and don’t worry about losing that hour of sleep. You’ll get it back Nov. 4 when daylight saving time ends.
Let’s look forward to a fun and safe spring and summer.