Well, I just realized I wrote something stupid on Twitter. I was responding to a tweet by someone who seemed to be lamenting the fact that MLK day was not seriously celebrated because the Civil Rights movement belongs to all Americans.
In response, I wrote that it was sad that MLK day had become simply another holiday, like Memorial Day, Veteran's Day, and the 4th of July--holidays where we are observing significant, even sacred things in our country's history. I meant that we generally observe these holidays by staying home, relaxing, and maybe having a party instead of really reflecting. I'm afraid it may have seemed that I was regretting the fact that we celebrate MLK day--which was not what I meant at all. That's what I get for trying to communicate complex ideas in 140 characters on Twitter. Lesson learned!
But back to the idea of holidays. I saw a cartoon many years ago that showed a distraught Abraham Lincoln struggling to compose the Gettysburg Address. The cartoon characters, who were going back in time, comforted him by telling him that everything would be ok: his speech would be great, the Union would win the Civil War, and he would become such a great president that people would celebrate his birthday by selling mattresses at a discount.
This is what I'm talking about. When I think of Lincoln, or Washington, or Dr. King, or the many veterans who fought for our country, I admit to some regret that I personally don't do more to really observe the holidays that are dedicated to their memories. To do what they did required courage and strength that I can't fully comprehend, and I--all of us really--am the beneficiary of their struggles.
I don't mean that we should have to be solemn and sober all day long on these holidays. There's nothing wrong with a barbecue or getting some extra sleep. I just think perhaps the pendulum has swung too far to one extreme and that we are far too casual about honoring the giants on whose shoulders we stand.
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