Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Remember the Fallen, Not the Breathing
I get hung up on issues of historical correctness, not political correctness. I am often frustrated by our nation's blissfully ignorant participation in holiday celebrations of historically significant events. You would think that a people whose labeling sensititivies have become so attenuated that the word "tooth" has been dropped from "toothpick" on the back of brownie mix boxes (go look: "Insert pick to test for doneness."), would be able to pay closer attention to the big, important distinctions in American life. Take Memorial Day. Originally begun as "Decoration Day" (decorating graves of soldiers killed in the War for Southern Independence in local cemeteries), Memorial Day was eventually declared a National Holiday for the purpose of remembering with solemnity the ultimate sacrifices made by those who fight our nation's wars. Memorial Day is not about honoring living veterans. Living veterans march in Memorial Day parades to honor their fallen comrades, and so most Americans, whose only use of a history book is as a door stop, incorrectly, if they do anything at all redeeming on the day, salute living veterans. Nice gesture, but wrong. Veterans Day is for that.