On Monday the 30th, Americans observed Memorial Day. Later this new month of June, Americans will “observe” the newest federal holiday, “Juneteenth.” Next month, July, most Americans will “celebrate” the Fourth of July – and some will observe Independence Day on the 4th (and for some of us, the 2nd) of July. Each of these is supposed to have some national significance – and each has a REAL significance.
Let’s take a quick look, from the point of view of a lover of liberty.
Is there a connection between liberty – personal freedom – and holidays?
We, of course, say yes. Sometimes a positive connection and sometimes a negative one.
Consider Memorial Day – originally observed as Decoration Day when survivors of the Confederate States of America went to the cemeteries to remember their war dead. That is right: those evil people went to graveyards to HONOR those even more evil people who fought against their rightful rulers (the elected officials of the WHOLE “nation”) in support (we are told) of the right to own other human beings. But the holiday got redeemed and renamed, and was expanded to honor and remember ALL those men (and more and more women) who died fighting for their State and nation – whether it was the USA or the CSA. Of course, this year, again, we saw people REFUSING to honor those who died for the “wrong cause” of the South. And what is next? Will other people refuse to honor those soldiers who died in the Mexican War because that was used to “steal” half of Mexico? Will still others refuse to honor soldiers who fought against marauding and vicious raiders who attacked settlements from Ontario to Texas (and even into Mexico)? Will still others refuse to remember those who died in Europe in 1917-1918 and again (well, different people) in 1942-1945 because they fought on the side of the stinkin’ French and the imperialist Brits? We can go on and on.
But while we can regard many of those who died in those wars as misguided and following leaders who should have been hung, can we not at least agree to recognize their loyalty to a cause? Their willingness to sacrifice for what they thought was a noble cause? Nope, not in 21st Century America where Russian composers from 300 years ago are banned because some people don’t like what Russians are doing in 2022.
But while Memorial Day at least seeks to recognize and honor courage and sacrifice, what about Juneteenth? To many, it is just another excuse to give government employees yet another day of pay without work. It is in many ways a meaningless holiday for the vast majority of Americans: the day when Union (Northern) occupation forces landed in Texas to begin more than a decade of military occupation (that is, tyranny and dictatorship and a form of slavery) BUT told a few thousand Black slaves that they were free. Free to be slaves with their former masters, and their “white” and “hispanic” and AmerInd neighbors and fellow Texans. Juneteenth does NOT celebrate ANY action on the part of ANY slave in Texas in 1865 to free themselves, to sacrifice themselves and their “fortunes” (everything they owned) and their “sacred honor” as well. No, it celebrates entitlement: that free men had risked and bled and died to gain the slaves their freedom – AND to be compassionately cared for by a “benevolent” government.
Excuse me, I had to wash my mouth out.
Unlike Juneteenth, Independence Day DOES (or should) honor men and women and a society that DID sacrifice much for liberty for themselves AND others. To remember the cost and the rewards of liberty. At least, once upon a time it did. With fireworks and parades and stirring speeches. Not campaign and political speeches, but patriotic ones. That, of course, is now condemned as chauvinism and nationalism which is, after all, just a integral and horrible facet of fascism. And the men and women of 1776 are condemned because they did not reject their upbringing ENOUGH to match the rarified standards of 2022 American woke social justice warriors and so-called liberals.
So as a nation, Independence Day is as corrupted as Christmas (Santa Claus and buy-buy-buy) and Easter (bunnies and bunny eggs!). It is just the Fourth of July! And like the old joke says, EVERY country has a fourth of July!
Think on these things – and consider whether YOU and I understand the meaning of various holidays. Sacred days to remember the good (and the bad) sacred events that created our society today.