Fireworks tonight! Yes, as I write this, on July 2nd, a local establishment is set to put on its typically excellent Fourth of July fireworks show after dark today. The show is wonderful, and is a much-anticipated tradition around these parts. However, held as it will be on this date, it is also symptomatic of an ever-growing trend of observing holidays when it is most convenient for us, or when it will provide the most revenue for businesses or governmental bodies.
The nature of the observance dictates how inane and offensive I believe this to be. It would be quite alright to extol the LGBTQIA community by honoring it with a holiday falling “on the third Monday of May,” each year for instance. It would be equally ducky if Arbor Day was placed on any given day of any month, whether it extended our weekends or not. The same holds true for National Coffee Day or Bring Your Kid to Work Day…as it would for a day set aside to laud cheese slicers.
Celebrating the birth of the United States of America, however, is an entirely different story. This recognition of the date the Declaration of Independence was ratified, thereby bringing forth a new nation conceived in liberty and a government of, by, and for, the people, should not be subject to modern whims. The most famous- and effective- political document in history deserves better. It is not just tradition here, either, screaming for proper observance. How can you celebrate a holiday whose very name includes a specific date…on a different date? Does: “Would you folks like to come celebrate the Fourth of July with us this year? We’re going to do it on the second,” sound right to you? “Sure, that sounds great. And we’d like to reciprocate by having you come over to our place next year. Our Fourth will be on the first, then.”
We here in America have essentially stopped observing Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays, instead mashing them together and watering them down- simultaneously- by simply observing a “President’s Day” the third Monday in February. Thusly, we’ve taken half of those enshrined on Mount Rushmore and lumped them in with the likes of Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Jimmy Carter and Barack Hussein Obama. Egalitarianism writ large! And stupid!
Labor Day, the exalting of all the effort put out- and all the work done- by those with jobs who make things, create ideas, grow our food and pay their taxes, is always observed on a Monday. This makes some sense, except to all those in retail, the service and hospitality industries, etc., who have to work that day anyway.
Those who have given that full and final measure of devotion in the service of their country are memorialized, logically enough, on Memorial Day, always observed on a Monday, of course. Party!
Oddly, some of the less important and solemn “holidays” are still recognized on specific dates, no matter the day of the week on which they happen to fall. We honor chubby, sleepy rodents to whom we wrongly attribute advanced meteorological skills, on “Groundhog’s Day,” a hallowed occasion always dutifully observed on February 2nd.
St. Patrick’s Day was originally observed to honor Saint Patrick and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland. However, we have cleverly turned it into an opportunity to pay tribute to fictitious, diminutive, green- and vaguely gay- Irish men while consuming vast quantities of green beer and drinking the occasional shot from a small glass hanging by a lanyard off of a buxom girl’s neck.
I’ll know the end is nigh if we someday decide to officially, annually observe Christmas and Easter on a certain Monday in December and March/April respectively. “But, hey, it’s way more convenient. It’s easier to schedule around in coming years. And, we get a three-day weekend! Whoo-hoo! That’s what I’m talkin’ ‘bout, baby!”
With a little effort, we can make every weekend at least three days in length!
There was one date, the first of April, on which we used to celebrate practical jokes, dirty tricks and general silliness. It is now being moved to the last Monday in March. April Fool’s!
Actually, in light of the news in recent years- fake and otherwise- it appears we are attempting to celebrate “All-Fools Day” on an ongoing basis, 24/7/365.
In any case, Happy Birthday America! Thank you Founders and Framers! I’m sorry we’ve decided we know better than you did.