What does summer mean to you? As a child I think it probably meant a break from school and great weather for playing outside. As an adult there isn’t exactly a summer vacation from work (unless you don’t have a job, like me, in which case every day is summer vacation), but summer brings great weather (if, like me, you live in a winter state, Vermont in my case) which opens up opportunities for outdoor activities (if, like me, you don’t like winter outdoor activities). What a parenthetical paragraph this is turning out to be (incidentally). I love to get outside in the summer and work in the yard. Summer is very freeing and in my mind it represents freedom, be it from school or winter or whatever else. In addition to that perspective, the summer months host most of our patriotic holidays.
I made the connection between the freedom of summer and the timing of patriotic holidays while reading a blog post entitled “Freedom Defined” by One Man Versus The World. In this post the author offers his definition of freedom and invites readers to do the same. I think it is important to have a personal definition for something like freedom. If I know what freedom is then I’ll know how to obtain it and maintain it. If I don’t have a working definition for it then how do I know if I’ve lost it? It may seem simple, but even adding a comment to a blog post wherein you state your personal definition of freedom can be a benefit to you. I think so, anyway. I invite you to visit the post at the link above and add your thoughts.
First of all, the patriotic holidays don’t all fall exactly within the designated days of summer, but mostly, or close enough for blog posting. President’s Day is way off in the middle of winter, and Veteran’s Day is in the middle of autumn, but otherwise the patriotic holidays fall in the summer. I suppose these days might be better labeled as days of observance than holidays, but I don’t think there is anything wrong with celebrating the cause of freedom and those who have fought and sacrificed all in the name of it. Memorial Day, Flag Day, Independence Day and Patriot’s Day are each summer holidays or days of remembrance.
I think it is good for us to have these days set apart for remembrance. Just like it is important to define certain concepts it is important to remember the past and honor the good while learning from the bad. I wish that these days were honored more, not for the sake of the day, but for the sake of the people the day commemorates. Memorial Day is a prime example of how the day has been hijacked by pop-culture. Memorial Day is May 30th, but we “celebrate” it on an observed holiday, being the last Monday in May. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but why do we have to have an observed holiday for Memorial Day? To make it more convenient for the three-day weekend crowd going to the opening weekend of the Jersey shore? Maybe to facilitate mattress sales? Why can’t we just honor the day wherever it happens to come up on the weekly calendar?
Congress changed it, and they changed it to give themselves a regularly occurring three-day weekend. Well if that doesn’t honor the men and women who have died in defense of America and freedom then I don’t know what does. Apparently some people in congress during the 1968 session define freedom as having a regular three-day weekend each May. To each his own. The people for whom Memorial Day exists guaranteed that with their lives.
As we approach the summer months of freedom and pass each of these revered days, let us all remember the gift of freedom, the importance of freedom, and the cost of freedom. To help get you started, hop over to One Man Versus The World and leave your thoughts about what freedom is.