Let's Rethink Our HolidaysSubmitted by JCole on Wed, 07/04/2012 - 14:47
As our holidays come and go year after year, our celebrations seem to be less and less about the original intent of the holiday. Three holidays in particular come to mind: Independence Day, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day. The act of honoring our troops has encroached greatly on the real meaning for these three holidays. Please, don’t misunderstand! Like you, I have the greatest respect for the men and women who serve in our military (they deserve to be honored with their own holiday), but on these three days we seem to pay lip service to our current troops, while neglecting the holiday’s original intent. So perhaps we should rethink our holidays.
Let’s start with LABOR DAY. The Labor Day holiday was established to celebrate the economic and social contributions of workers. Is that what we really celebrate in these modern times? Isn’t Labor Day more a recognition of the end of summer and the start of the NFL season? Do we ever take time on this day to reflect upon the hard working stiffs who make this country tick? With anti-union sentiment running at an all-time high, does anybody really care about the social and economic contributions of workers? I say, let’s just dispose of Labor Day.
We can replace it with ARMED FORCES DAY. Yes, we already have an Armed Forces Day and an Armed Forces Week in the middle of May. This day was established to honor those currently serving in our military. But unless you reside near an Army, Air Force, or Navy base or a Coast Guard Station, and because this is not a holiday where you get the day off, you may barely be aware that this day of honor exists. So let’s move it to September and do it up right! As we honor the men and women of our military in differing ways, let’s make sure we include parades in which our troops can march, where we put on display our best and brightest along with the tanks, artillery and other hardware which they utilize. We don’t do this in a spirit of war-mongering or interventionism (although our foreign policy over the past several decades may lead one to surmise that this is our intent), but we do so as a reminder to ourselves and a demonstration to others that we are more than willing and capable to defend those freedoms and liberties which we hold so dear. In short, we say, “Don’t Tread On Me”.
Having honored our military with Armed Forces Day, let’s take another look at the three holidays mentioned in my opening paragraph.
INDEPENDENCE DAY can once again become a celebration of our Founding Fathers and the principles upon which they established our Republic. We can reacquaint ourselves and our children with the many documents which they produced, foremost among them being the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. We can remind ourselves why our Founders formed this great Union, to escape the oppressive rules and regulations of King George III in Britain, of “taxation without representation”. We can use this day to look at those freedoms and liberties which we hold so dear and ask if our government continues to serve us according to the wishes of the Founders by maintaining those liberties. We can check to see that our government is not becoming the oppressive and over-regulating authority that our Founders sought to escape. We can heed the words that Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence: “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them (citizens) under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.” Unfortunately in our society, the reflection upon history is boring... it all happened so long ago, it has no bearing on today. This apathy needs to be overcome before we can truly celebrate the meaning of Independence Day.
MEMORIAL DAY is the day in which we should hold solemn observances in memory of those who died while serving in the Armed Forces. These are the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice, their lives, in defense of our freedom. Let’s keep this as a special day dedicated solely to them by honoring their service and memory, by visiting their grave sites.
VETERANS DAY was established to honor those who served in the military and are still with us. Once again, this day should be solely about them. We should take the time to seek out those veterans, to give them our heartfelt thanks for their service. Many can be found in Veterans Hospitals.
In conclusion, it must be stated that a huge shift in our American culture must take place before holidays can be celebrated properly. For most, our holidays are just another day off, a three-day weekend, and an opportunity for golf, a ballgame, or a party. Little to no reflection is given to our Independence, those who died, or those who served. We need to once again convince our fellow citizens the importance of realizing that “freedom is not free”. Only then will we become real patriots, not just flag-wavers.