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9/11 or 11/9?

When a person enters the United States, there are forms to fill in. The Customs Declaration is available in a number of languages, including Chinese. I was intrigued to notice that it now asks for birthdate in the international, and logical (small to large unit), order: day/month/year. Capitulation on the part of the U.S. government to global usage!

I’ve wondered about our term “9/11,” which doesn’t make sense outside these borders. I thought it might be used anyhow, because it is unique and simple, but while people elsewhere certainly understand it they do not use it themselves. It’s “11 September” elsewhere in the world.

While I love local distinctiveness and regional cultural, I do wish the United States would switch to global usage on dates, measurements, and paper sizes. The rest of the world isn’t going to switch to our outmoded forms; standardization would be better for business and would help to foster a sense that we are part of a global village.

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