Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Made-up Holidays and New Neighbors

I love made-up holidays. You know – the kind that most people have no idea what they’re for, but the bank and post office closes, so just about all of us get to have the day off. Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not knocking Memorial Day. It has a great purpose – but the average person is celebrating a day off of work, not our fallen heroes.

Now, I will agree that when these made-up holidays were initiated, they served a good purpose of remembrance and honor. But who even knows (or cares) why Flag Day exists now? Sure, you can research it on the internet, but why?

Personally, our family always has a big meal on weekends like this. And then Husband and I spend as much time as possible doing absolutely nothing. It was a great weekend.

I wonder though, what our new neighbors think of such made-up holidays? They spent most of the weekend moving in. Like a nice neighbor, I went over to introduce myself on Saturday. The guy was out in the front lawn. Perfect opportunity, right? I drove up, and he gave me a funny look. I stepped out of the car, and he looked at me weird again. I said “Hi!” and he hesitantly took a step forward. I proceeded to explain that I am his back neighbor, and that I wanted to introduce myself and just say hello. He smiled and nodded as I was talking, then when I finished, said, “No English.” He proceeded to motion for me to wait, then went in the house. He came out with his son, probably around 7 or 8 years old. He translated a short conversation for us, and I found out that our new neighbor’s family consists of him, his wife, and two children, a boy (who was translating for us) and a girl. They were very nice, but you have to wonder what they think about moving into a neighborhood where no one understands them.

After sufficiently moving in, they had a big family gathering at their house. All Monday evening they were out in the back yard, kids running around, etc. Nothing abnormal or obnoxious – just a lot more activity than we’re used to back there. As I went out to tell the dog to stop barking at them for the hundredth time and heard their rapid Spanish, I wondered if they understand what Memorial Day is all about. Do they know that the reason they want to be here today is that men and women bravely gave their lives for our country? And that today is the day we take to remember those brave souls? Maybe they do – maybe they are more aware of it than we think.

Maybe they are even more grateful for those who have lost their lives in defense of American freedom than we are. Why? We’ve always been here and have known nothing else. We take it for granted. Obviously, they are not from America but have come here in recent years for a reason. We could speculate on those reasons all day long, but the bottom line is that our men and women of the Armed Forces are fighting for and have died for them as much as for us.

So, made-up holiday or not, we should pay attention to what we’re celebrating and who we’re honoring. Pin It

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