Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A Peace Full Memorial Day

I've never been entirely comfortable with Memorial Day. I'd like to see Memorial Day broken down into at least two separate holidays - maybe four. I'd call one of those days Hero Day, and the other Ancestor Day. I feel that Memorial Day is in fact two days in one, and doesn't do either much justice. Some might also argue that Memorial Day is also a Futility of War Day, and an Honor Those Who Serve Our Nation Day. Certainly those days would be justified!

I feel that it is because Americans are so afraid of dealing with death that Memorial Day is so unclear about exactly what it means to people. Certainly the military aspect is there - it's an institution, but civilians honor other departed civilians on Memorial Day too - and who's to tell them to stop?

Let's look at my proposal to break Memorial Day down into four separate National Holidays:

Ancestor Day would be a wonderful day. It would be a day in which families could get together, and celebrate the elderly, and dearly departed. A run out to the Cemetery could be part of the Ancestor Day weekend, but so too could getting together with the elders, sharing family, and cultural history.

Heros Day would be the celebration of any Hero, not just those who have died in the Military. Firefighters, Police, and Civilian Heros would all be celebrated! The only rule here would be that a Hero would in fact be dead. I know it's a bummer, and lots of Heros are still alive, but you'll see why I have this rule later. We'll even leave it up to the people to recognize who they define as Heros. Certainly it could be a period of recognition which last a whole three day weekend since we're including more Heros. The Heros Day would in fact be most similar to Memorial Day.

Honor Those Who Serve Our Nation Day seems like a good idea too. I believe there a days similar to this already on the books, but no one gets a day off from work - and I think they should. We should have a weekend - a big event - for this type of recognition. We need to reinforce such behavior, we need to elevate such people to a place of honor. It's good for a nation to do so. This day is different from Heros Day in the sense that these folk haven't necessarily departed - they've served, or are currently serving. And the three day weekend would give ample time to focus on the military, police, fire department, rescue squads, nurses, doctors, dispatchers, volunteers, etc., and the role they play in our society. A three day weekend focusing on these folk sounds alright with me!

The Futility of War Day, well that's actually a day we should all be recognizing each, and every day, but just in case it wouldn't be a bad idea to make it an official holiday. Why not take one weekend out of the year in which violence of any kind - whether it be domestic, or international is shown for what it is - not the best option! I don't believe the nation needs to fear itself slip into pacificist isolationism just because the people would take a weekend each year to introspect about all the pain, and loss which violence has caused humanity. And this day doesn't need to be entirely depressing, as much of the celebration could focus on teaching people about alternatives to violence.

With many ideas I presented above, did I mention beer, and potato chips? Yes, there'd be even more time to spend with the family, and an extra paid day from work for each of these holidays.

August doesn't have a national Holiday, and October could use a three day weekend too. There hasn't been any national holidays added in many years, and I feel it's long overdue.

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