A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

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Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, July 02, 2010

Celebrating the Fourth and the Eleventh

Radio talk show host and opinion columnist Michael Smerconish noted an interesting dilemma earlier this week regarding how Americans celebrate noteworthy days in our nation’s history. His problem focused on 9/11, the latest day of infamy in America’s past. He expressed the concern that we, as American citizens, are treating the date too lightly, if we choose to remember it at all. The concerns have been voiced more and more in recent years, and the voices will most likely get louder next year on the 10th anniversary of the Twin Towers/Pentagon attacks.

The question arises how should we celebrate this day? Some believe it should be a solemn day of remembrance for the 2,000 plus Americans who died. Others believe that American life should proceed as normal on this date with a moment or two of reflection, but otherwise treat the day the same as the Fourth of July: a celebration.

Many may view this latter attitude as sacrilegious, but let’s ponder this for a moment. Yes, it is indeed tragic that so many people died on that date when all they were doing was going about their normal day-to-day work routine. Most likely many of those killed never knew what happened or who was doing it to them, and why the terrorists singled them out for punishment. That, and the fact that their lives were forever interrupted with so much promise unrealized, only heightens the national trauma.

Who can blame the naysayers for wanting to take the observances with the utmost seriousness? Let’s face it, Americans have developed a talent in this status seeking culture to make every holiday, celebration, or nationwide trauma into a giddy, free-market free-for-all excuse to shop, shop and shop. We have made our national holidays into high holy days worshipping at the altar of materialistic greed.

Let’s take Memorial Day as an example. It is set aside to remember the millions of American men and women who sacrificed their lives to keep our country safe and secure in all of our wars. We celebrate with parades and cookouts (people still have to eat, even on the holidays). Could we still celebrate this day without all the sales? I bet we could if we tried hard enough...

Then there is a strong argument that if we allow our lives to be interrupted, then logic dictates the terrorists have won. Ironically, they didn’t gain a thing. The attacks on September 11 brought Americans closer together than I can ever recall in my adult life.

Throughout my years, I can recall very little harmony in American society. Do you believe issues like gun control and abortion are new? No, they are just as hotly debated today as they were 40 years ago. Political philosophies have also kept the country apart and away from any semblance of solving our problems. The people we have elected to bring us together and keep us together act like they have a vested interest in maintaining division in the country.

All too briefly, the 9/11 attacks changed that and we were one united nation. If for no other reason, then we should mark 9/11 as a celebration: a celebration of life for those who lost it, and a celebration of our society’s resilience to withstand such attacks. The same is true for the Fourth of July. Although it is our nation’s birthday, we must acknowledge that it was a difficult birth. Thousands of soldiers – colonists and Redcoats - died in the ensuing conflict. Even many of the Founding Fathers who had the courage to sign the Declaration of Independence saw their property, their fortunes and their lives destroyed because of their efforts to bring forth this ongoing experiment in democracy.

So, this Fourth of July should be a day of remembrance and reflection, and parades and fireworks, and barbecues and picnics. Just leave the credit cards at home.

(Thank you for reading. Have a happy and safe Fourth! Happy Birthday, Mom!)


Anonymous Janey said...

I am greatly enjoying your thought-provoking and engaging blog...


July 5, 2010 at 3:52 PM  

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