Monday, May 31, 2010

What it Means to be an American

It's the unofficial start of summer, a big day for barbecuing, a great day to find a cheap piece of furniture or grab a big sale somewhere and a day off from work for most of us. However, the disgusting abundance of retail businesses that are open today is a concept I don't quite grasp.
While I realize that there is more money to be made by being open on a holiday than not, I would think that a sense of history and respect would prevent it. Maybe it is because so many businesses are owned by non-native Americans that keeps them open, I don't know. I could assume it is simple greed, and I would at least be partly correct.
In the United States, today is Memorial Day, which we have been celebrating in one form or another since 1866. It used to be called Decoration Day, but was officially declared Memorial Day in 1967. Until 1968 it was celebrated on May 30, but the U.S. Government passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, and it was moved to the last Monday in May.
And therein lies part of the problem. No less a group of Americans than our federal government believes that the long weekend is more important than the holiday. When the priorities of the government are to extend workers' weekends at the expense of tradition, how can we expect TD Bank to be closed? Those of us who are old enough to remember that the country would pretty much shut down on a holiday find the new system a bit hard to take. Would it kill the supermarket to close today? As far as they are concerned, it is more important to meet their quarterly earnings than it is to pay respect to people who died for us.
Memorial Day is not only a day off from work, it is a symbolic gesture to remember people who died because they were called to duty by their government. The very government who changed the rules in favor of big business. We have no other way to thank them, and the least we could do as Americans is sacrifice a precious day of revenue for the sake of the men and women who helped make it possible for you to have revenue to begin with.
Is that too difficult a concept to grasp?


MyRiseAbove said...

Because I am 26 years old I can talk about the people my age from my experience being around them...Most of them don't care about history, nor do some even know what the day means today except a day off work. My husband is 28 and is one of the few "young" guys who loves history and respects and values our freedom. He gets mad too that buisnesses are open today. I'm glad there are people like you guys. But the numbers are shrinking drastically.

Anthony said...

thanks. Maybe I'm not so "sick" after all.

junior alien said...

The tendency in all "industrial countries" goes to giving in to greed, or what else is consumption for the sake of consumption? Maybe masking the emptiness or sadness inside. That's an explanation too.
But society is constantly changing. Things never stay the same or else there is no life. It's the evolution principle.

Sometimes when I walk to the streetcar stop and see a bunch of those drifting, naive, terribly dolled-up adolescents hanging around the bicycle stands trying to act cool and self-confident, I give them a pitiful look which kind of irritates some because they'd expect to look provocative. But ultimately, they're not.
They are the generation who are supposed to "run the country" in a decade or so. They'll have to take over responsibility if they want to keep their standard of living.
Yet still they're not aware of it.

(This is what I think of when you write about Memorial Day..)

DMB FAN said...