It’s a long weekend in the USA. We’re celebrating Memorial Day.
I read up on my history. Worth a few minutes of your time.
Originally called Decoration Day, apparently, the holiday began as a way to formally honor all the graves of the Civil War dead. Think back. How terrible to live through a civil war. Battles fought in town squares. Clearing the bodies from the doorstep. Of course as a young country we needed to join in ritual to recover.
But I was thinking that maybe it’s time to evolve the day, formally, to honor all our dead. I mean no disrespect. My father lost his father and his older brother in WWII. I feel for all families with children in harm’s way.
But consider for a moment.
If you deconstruct Memorial Day, it is for people who had the job of soldier, and died doing it. Again, I mean no disrespect, but that is the technical definition. And if you think about it, here in the USA we already have a day for every one with a job. It’s called Labor Day. We also already have a day for veterans of the military, called Veterans Day. We have an Armed Forces Day, for that matter.
I understand we needed Memorial Day when our greatest threat was foreign oppression. When those who died in war were our greatest heroes. But I think that now our greater threats are to the shared ecosystem in which we live, and to the American ideals of opportunity for all.
It might now be appropriate to focus recognition for the military on Veterans Day. We might then extend Memorial Day to all our dead loved ones. We wouldn’t be alone. The Latin culture has Day of the Dead, Chinese and Japanese their ancestor holidays.
It might also be time to stop giggling about Earth Day.
Taking this odd argument even further, if we believe we ought to we honor what affects us and our future most, we could create a new holiday. It’s a logical step. Maybe we could call it Mother Theresa Day. Unlikely, I know. How about National Good Samaritan Day? Or National Public Service Day? National Take Care Of Someone Day?
If we consider the good of everyone living in the United States, kindness and charity would alleviate more suffering than any show of force.
I mean no disrespect. Just noodling on a Saturday morning. Have a nice weekend.