EDITORIAL/Saving Daylight: Once again we do the dance with our clocks

It's that time again.

Yes, the time when we lose and hour's sleep but gain some extra evening sunshine.

Daylight Saving Time begins tonight just after Saturday turns to Sunday.

This whole twice yearly dance with our clocks started in 1918, when the United States entered World War I and officials in Washington looked at what the Germans were doing to conserve energy.

Daylight Saving Time had been in effect in Germany since 1916. And so the U.S. decided to give DST a try. On March 31, 1918, Americans set their clocks forward an hour for the first time.

Most people hated it. So much so Congress repealed DST after the war.

But not everyone saw DST as a negative. Some states continued to use DST to take advantage of long summer days, while others just didn't want to be bothered.

Then came World War II. President Franklin Roosevelt, eager both to save energy and boost essential production, instituted "war time" -- essentially year-round DST. War time began in February of 1942 and continued until September of 1945.

For the next 21 years the federal government left DST up to the states. Some used it, some didn't. And they each set their own days for time changes. The result was something of a nationwide mess -- especially for the transportation industry. Long-haul truckers in particular found it difficult to keep up with what each state was doing.

So in 1967 Congress standardized DST across the U.S.

Initially, Arizona, Hawaii and Michigan opted out of DST. Michigan returned to the fold in 1973, but Arizona apparently feels it has more than enough sunshine and hasn't felt the need to save any daylight. Hawaii's tropical climate makes DST unnecessary..

The country went back on year-round DST from January of 1974 until March of 1975 in response to the Arab oil embargo. But it roved unpopular and the experiment was ended. Since then the dates have shifted from time to time, but for most Americans the ritual is "fall back" and "spring forward."

There have been proposals in Congress over the years to standardize the time year-round , but so far no dice.. A bill last year by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida would enact DST all year long passed the Senate, but not the House of Representatives. The bill was reintroduced earlier this month.

So for now we will keep playing the DST game. And while you may lose an hour's sleep tonight, have a little patience. You'll gain an hour when we "fall back" to standard time -- in November.

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