Monday, February 20, 2012

President's Day

Its a national holiday. I think its sad that its become the norm to equate holidays with sales, maybe a day off work or the inconvenience of the banks & post offices being closed. Do we even remember why we celebrate anymore? I grew up in the late 70's, early 80's. Kids back then knew why we celebrated Lincoln or Washington. We knew what Veteran's day, Memorial day & Pearl Harbor day was & why the Ladies Auxiliary sold those little plastic poppies in front of all the grocery stores. We knew where Thanksgiving originated & what they were celebrating. We knew explorers like Christopher Columbus by name. We knew who wrote the Star Spangled Banner & we knew all the words because we had to sing it every day in school! We pledged allegiance to our flag: one nation, under God. We knew why we celebrated the fourth of July. That concept seems so foreign anymore. Now its all about partying with the biggest, baddest, fireworks display & copious amounts of alcohol. We knew that Christmas was about Christ & nativity scenes & family, not 3 day, last chance Christmas blowout sales. There wasn't a card & seasonal merchandise for every holiday & holidays weren't marketed in the stores months in advance like they are now. The average kid doesn't know these things & probably doesn't even care. But history matters.

How we celebrate our heritage matters. I'm not talking about Americans only, but every human being in general. We used to hold people, places & events in memorial because their presence meant something to us- past, present & future. These things changed us somehow, for better or worse. I believe its God Who makes us human, but the act of being human is left up to us. Preserving heritage is an act of humanity. Accomplishing things worthy of memorial for future generations is an act of humanity. Holiday sales & competition between who has the better whats-its, frustration from having our lives interrupted or inconvenienced for any length of time or the expectation of a day to escape work & responsibilities are not acts of humanity. Our holidays used to be something special. The community celebrated because it remembered that our heritage & history was not about the "me" or the "I", it was about the "we", the "us", the "why".

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