We’re kicking off a busy week today, CivMixers.

But it’s going to be a week that crams a lot of activity into a short period of time, as today is Veterans Day – a time to reflect and thank those who have served and are currently serving in the armed forces to keep us safe, some of whom made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom.

(This is not to be confused with Memorial Day, the holiday in late May that honors those who died while serving in the military).

Veterans Day is a state and federal holiday. It’s the eighth of 10 federal holidays in 2019 with Thanksgiving and Christmas to follow. Veterans Day started in 1926 with its purpose being to remember all U.S. military veterans, past and present. The only state that doesn’t observe is Wisconsin.

The stock market is open today, but U.S. Postal Service offices will be closed. Most banks and some businesses are also closed and most kids don’t have school.

Many communities will host parades today, including New York City. A traditional opening ceremony takes place first at 11 a.m. at Madison Square Park located at 24th St. & Fifth Ave., and then the parade steps off at noon, with marchers following Fifth Avenue from 26th to 46th streets.

President Donald Trump is forgoing the traditional wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery today to participate, along with his wife, First Lady Melania Trump, in the kickoff of the NYC parade. (The president won’t be marching, but Gen. David Berger, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, will lead a contingent of Marines along the route).

Both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio are expected to march in the NYC parade. Neither of them have gotten along very well with Trump in the past – particularly not the governor, who has recently traded barbs on Twitter with Trump over his decision to move his home base from NYC to Florida.

Both the governor and the mayor have said today is not about politics. We’ll see.

The City of Albany also has a Veterans Day Parade, which kicks off at 11 a.m. at the corner of Central Avenue and Ontario Street and proceeds to Hawk Street, located just east of the state Capitol. The reviewing stand is situated on the steps of the state Education Building.

If you’re planning on attending any outdoor activities, expect clouds with some occasional rain showers in the afternoon and temperatures hovering around 40 degrees. Some arctic air that’s hitting the midwest today is headed in our direction, with snow in the forecast late tonight-early tomorrow and temperatures dropping into the 20s on Wednesday, according to The Weather Channel.

A storm system that is moving north towards New England is predicted to largely spare the immediate Albany area, with only 1 to 2 inches of snow forecast to fall by tomorrow afternoon. (Areas in the higher elevations will get more of the white stuff). There could be record-breaking low temperatures tomorrow night into Wednesday.

If you’re looking for something to do today with the kids that’s inside, consider this: The Albany Institute of History & Art has free admission today. Also, the USS Slater is hosting a Veterans Day ceremony at 9 a.m., followed by tours all day until 4 p.m.

If you’re online today, you might notice that the Google doodle features a painting called “Paying Tribute,” which depicts two children, one in camouflage and one in a sailor’s cap, planting U.S. flags in a field.

It was done by Pete Damon, a Massachusetts-based Iraq War veteran and artist who was severely injured in 2003 while serving as a helicopter mechanic and lost parts of both of his arms. He began painting as a form of therapy, which led to a career in art.

The USA Today editorial board has a sobering op-ed that highlights the suicide crisis facing today’s military. Last year alone, 325 active-duty troops took their own lives, a rate of 24.8 per 100,000. The civilian rate is 18 per 100,000.

John W. Sacca of Albany, an Army veteran of the Vietnam War, has earned the 2019 Veteran of the Year Award, sponsored by the Association of the United States Army and the Friends of the New York State Military Museum.

Cuomo says he wants a New York state Veterans Cemetery and will introduce a bill that should help get federal funding for such a facility.

Veterans and their spouses will have their application fees to New York’s public colleges and universities, Cuomo announced. This applies to applicants for the state and city university systems.

Cuomo is poised to sign a bill to extend the window for active military members to qualify as NYC firefighter candidates by one year.

To thank the more than 19 million veterans in the United States, many restaurants and businesses are offering freebies and deals to those who served. Some are even extending their generosity to active military and their family members.

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio is celebrating his birthday on this Veteran’s Day; he’s turning 44. He shares the day with actress Demi Moore (57), football player Victor Cruz (33), fashino designer Richie Rich (49), and actor Stanley Tucci (59).

In the headlines…

Congressional Democrats launch the public phase of their impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump this week, with open, televised hearings set for Wednesday and Friday in the House of Representatives.

House Republicans want Hunter Biden and the anonymous whistleblower who helped launch the impeachment inquiry against Trump to be among the witnesses who testify.

Trump tweeted or retweeted 82 times on Saturday while flying to and from a collegiate football game in Alabama. Many of his tweets were fighting back against the House’s impeachment inquiry into allegations that he withheld congressionally approved military aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political opponents.

Nikki Haley, the former ambassador to the United Nations, says in a new book that she resisted entreaties by other top aides to Trump to undermine his policies, revealing more about the fractious world of loyalty and betrayal around the president.

Former Trump administration national security adviser John Bolton reportedly has a book deal.

On a two-day swing through Iowa this weekend New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Bernie Sanders, the senator from Vermont and a 2020 presidential contender, traversed the state in tandem, an unlikely duo separated in age by nearly half a century, spreading their progressive ideology in an unlikely place.

President Evo Morales of Bolivia, who came to power more than a decade ago as part of a leftist wave sweeping Latin America, resigned after unrelenting protests by an infuriated population that accused him of undermining democracy to extend his rule.

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg has a dramatic story to tell of the Big Apple’s transformation should he decide to enter the presidential race, but it’s also for many critics a story about inequality.

There is still time for Hillary Clinton and/or Bloomberg to enter the 2020 presidential race, as a field of weak candidates continues to fuel speculation of a dark horse savior, according to former Clinton strategist Mark Penn.

There are six “high hazard” dams in the Capital Region, meaning that they’re in poor condition and property damage or injury and loss of life could result from a failure, according to the AP.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has doled out more $20 billion to New Yorkers in the past 20 years, the most for any state.

An arrest by University at Albany police captured in a cellphone video last week is sparking protests and a campus-wide discussion on race and police.

A New York law that is intended to protect children from convicted sex offenders has created a maze of contradictory policies and regulations, leading to inconsistent enforcement and confusing online tracking systems.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer slammed the FBI and Justice Department, saying the two agencies dropped the ball on sharing a national sex offender database with local schools and institutions.

Three middle school students in Albion plotted a lethal attack on their school that was thwarted after an online threat by one student led law enforcement authorities to open an investigation, officials said on Friday.

Many Adirondack Park Agency observers wonder how it can do its job with a depleted board. Three seats are vacant, and another four members are still serving on expired terms.

An errant tractor trailer destroyed a home being used for storage after the driver became lost in Lake George.

Cuomo, adorned in jeans, a collarless blue shirt and brown leather jacket, showed up at a popular downtown Albany bar, McGeary’s, to watch the Buffalo Bills take on the Cleveland Browns.

The governor watched most of the first half with longtime administration aides Joe Rabito and Jim Malatras and former Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings. He posed for photos with patrons, and, according to one pub patron with a good view of the executive table, consumed two Michelob Ultras and a burger.

Unofficial local results from this year’s early voting indicate more Democrats – or at least people who voted for Democrats – turned out to vote ahead of Election Day than Republicans.

Thomas Slivienski, who was convicted of killing a Cohoes teenager as revenge for a drug robbery, might get a new trial.

A killer, a counterfeiter and a young sex criminal share a rare tie that binds them together in the Albany County Hall of Records – the presidential pardon documents that set them free early from prison have survived.

A 30-year-old man in a jealous rage shot his former girlfriend in the head in Brooklyn, then shot her new boyfriend in the chest before killing himself yesterday, the police said. It was the third murder-suicide in a week in NYC that involved domestic violence.

A stabbing fight over the weekend at a homeless shelter on Manhattan’s West Side left one man dead, another injured and has brought renewed attention to the safety issues at some of New York City’s shelters.

RIP Laurel Griggs, who enjoyed early acting success in the 2013 Broadway revival of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and the musical adaptation of the Irish film “Once.” She died last week at the age of 13 after suffering a massive asthma attack.

Nearly four decades after he left office and despite a body that’s failing after 95 years, the nation’s oldest-ever ex-president, Jimmy Carter, still teaches Sunday school roughly twice a month at Maranatha Baptist Church in his tiny hometown of Plains in southwest Georgia.

Downtown Schenectady was buzzing with anticipation yesterday morning as hundreds of runners took off from the starting line to participate in one of the oldest road races in the country, the Stockade-athon 15k.

Photo credit: George Fazio.