It all started with a huge uproar over Columbus Day. There were some folks who thought Christopher Columbus wasn’t quite the same fellow we all read about in our history books. And, as they pointed out, he certainly wasn’t the first person in the New World, which gave rise to Indigenous People Day being posited as an alternative. That idea caused many Italian-Americans to rise up in protest in an attempt to protect their native son. Some may even have said things such as, “Well, if we can’t have Columbus Day, the Irish can’t have St. Patrick’s Day,” and, “Patrick wasn’t even Irish, you know. He was Welsh.” That not only stirred up more than a few Irish-Americans, but some Welsh-Americans, as well, who knew full-well Patrick was indeed born in Wales, but were not keen on a day of green beer and accompanying revelry being totally associated with them.
Now the school district and board of education of Randolph County, New Jersey, have decided there will be no descriptive terms attached to holidays on the school calendar. Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Memorial Day, MLK Day, et al, will now simply be labeled “Day Off” on their respective anniversaries. One member said they didn’t want to “hurt anyone’s feelings.”
And there are reports that some companies are basically following suit. Instead of having certain holidays designated during the year, employees may soon choose which days they’d like to take off to commemorate or celebrate whatever they would like to. The newly-minted Juneteenth holiday, for example might be one. If employees can take off any day they like, one I always thought should be celebrated might be called “Give Me My Money Day”. It’s the day each year when the average American stops working just to support the government. Everything you’ve earned from January 1 up to that date goes to taxes. According to recent reports, this year it would have fallen somewhere around May 8.
I wonder if that holiday flexibility thinking means you could simultaneously string together your regularly allotted vacation time plus the number of holidays your company recognizes? Shoot, you might be able to take off most of July and August. Of course, you wouldn’t get a day off for the next ten months, but it might be worth it.
Since the above-mentioned school district wanted to change all holidays, they can’t pick and choose which names to keep, right? But to help them separate the Days Off, I’ve come up with a few alternative names to the dates we now celebrate.
Independence Day could become “Fireworks, Hot Dogs, Sunburn, and Red, White, and Blue Shirts Day.” I’m sure neither the Founding Fathers nor the Minutemen who risked their lives and fortunes to separate us from English tyranny would mind.
New Years’ Day? I suppose “National Parade and Unending Football Games Day” might be a cumbersome contender, but c’mon, what’s offensive about proclaiming the start of a new year?
President’s Day: How about “Oval Office Occupants’ Day”?
Christmas: It could be called “Miraculous Birth Day.” Christians, of course, will know that still refers to Jesus. But non-believers could use the day to salute their favorite preemie survival story (perhaps figuring out along the way who made their miracle possible).
Thanksgiving: I’m not quite sure why this one’s even up for debate (although “Turkey, Gravy, and Pecan Pie Day” does sound tasty). Surely everyone has something to be thankful for at least one day of the year. Even if people are merely grateful for the fact they have the opportunity to change the names of holidays.
Memorial Day: Granted, there’s been a brouhaha or two over the years about this day. Some southern states thought it was originally a little too northern oriented after the un-Civil War (as commentator Paul Harvey used to call it). But there have been at least a few more battles since then that required many young men and women to give up their lives so We the People could have meaningless disputes such as renaming holidays. No need to change this one.
Veterans Day: Ditto this holiday. If you don’t know a veteran, find one. Ask about his or her service. Never put this one down as simply a “day off” please.
Labor Day: Actually, this one stays the same. Union enforcers know how to break kneecaps. Don’t mess with their special day.
And finally, what about the event celebrated this Sunday? Should Father’s Day be changed to “Guy Wearing Black Socks with Sandals on the Beach Day”?
©William J. Lewis, III – Freelance Writer