An Ol' Broad's Ramblings
Archive for 28 May 2012
Today is NOT Memorial Day. I know that comes as a shock to some young’uns, but it’s a fact! Memorial Day, formerly known as Decoration Day, is actually on May 30.
This Act was passed by Congress in 1968. I remember my dad was livid. Not only did it change the dates we ‘remember’ those who fought and died for our freedoms, but it also changed birthdays of presidents, the day we celebrate the supposed ‘discovery’ of America (it wasn’t actually ‘discovered’ by Columbus at all, since he never actually set foot on these shores), and the day meant to honor all veterans. Thankfully, in 1978, Veteran’s Day was returned to its rightful place, on November 11. The day Martin Luther King, Jr is honored also became a ‘Monday Holiday’ when it was established in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan.
This is something that has always bugged me to no end. For reasons, known only to themselves, but I have my suspicions, the 90th Congress passed H.R. 15951. The votes were pretty evenly split between R’s (88) and D’s (125) for and against (40-40). 54% for, 20% against, and 25% present. (I will never understand this habit of voting ‘present’. Either you are FOR something, or you are against it. If your constituents say NO, then that is how you vote. If they say yes, then you vote yes/yea/aye! Knock of this wishy washy crap, and do your freakin’ job!)
I suspect this was Congress’ way of letting the folks know they were in charge, and what we honored, on the days we honored, meant nothing, as opposed to federal workers getting a 3 day weekend. I’ve noticed a change since they made those ‘Monday Holidays’. If you’re old enough, I’ve no doubt you’ve noticed them too.
No longer do we actually HONOR those whose ‘days’ we celebrate. Nope. As a whole, they are an excuse for having big sales, gather with buddies for cookouts, and get generally chitfaced. What those days actually represent has gone by the wayside for a very large number of citizens. Oh, they make a HUGE deal out of Cinco de Mayo, even though it means very little in the country of its origin, but other than just a showing of support, we have pretty much forgotten the purpose of these days.
I would like to suggest that we return these important dates of our history back to their original spots on the calendar.
Washington’s birthday – February 22
Memorial Day – May 30
Columbus Day – October 12
Martin Luther King, Jr Day – January 15
When I was a sprout, we also celebrated Lincoln’s birthday, February 12. The intent was, supposedly not to combine both his an Washington’s birthday, but it became ‘President’s Day’ anyway, and so titled, apparently includes all presidents, even those who should be vilified (like Wilson, FDR, and a few others I won’t go into), not honored.
These were special days in my education, so long ago. Do they still teach what each day means, or is it just a day that teachers get out of work, with pay, the real dates, and the reason for them, been lost forever?
Making Memorial Day Make a Difference
For the young cadets, it was a powerful lesson in leadership, a reminder that their decisions in battle were far weightier than the costs of their own lives. Every decision they made might add to the row, so no decision, no sacrifice should be taken lightly.
For the rest of us, there is a lesson as well: Be thankful for the freedoms won–and who won them.