Just Plain Foolish

Just a chance for an old-fashioned, simple storyteller to say what needs to be said.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Real holidays

little blue flowers

My office does not always close on the federal schedule, so we often have to check whether or not we will be getting leave when there is a holiday. We do get Memorial Day off, but not Veteran's Day. This came up as one of my coworkers asked, "Is Monday a real holiday?" and another replied, "Yes, of course Memorial Day is a real holiday." And if that had stood alone, it might not have caught my attention, but it didn't. Next he said something about Veteran's Day not being real, you know, like Columbus Day.

Now, me, personally? I could do without Columbus Day. Old Chris was hardly the first person to "discover" America - not even the first European (check out the Vinland Saga, I believe, for details). And Ferdinand and Isabella give me hives. (Anybody else notice their pattern of genocide in their own countries? Hmm?)

But the contrast between Memorial Day and Veteran's Day is bad. What is says to me is that real heroes die. If you lived, you're not real enough. It echoes the words of a young veteran interviewed about the emotional scars he bears from Iraq, who replied that he wished he'd died "like a real hero".

We need to stop attempting to solve the world's problems through violence. And we need to have a holiday to celebrate the people who attempt to find other solutions. But in the meantime, we need to stop telling our soldiers that we expect them to die.


Blogger Little Black Car said...

I was poking around the various homesteading sites on my lunch break--another of my online vices--and found that Cost of Iraq counter, accompanied by a banner that said, "Peace Is Patriotic!" (which I could not get to work on my blog, hence the lame section title taking its place). I venture onto homesteading sites with trepidation because a few of them, if you get to know them too well, have some scary survivalist and/or Christian fundamentalist elements, and I was surprised, and tremendously pleased, to see that banner on their sidebar.

5/24/2007 12:14 PM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

*grin* It's an occupational hazard of reenacting. In 1999, I was in an army surplus store, looking for wool blankets to turn into other things, when the guy who ran the place struck up a conversation. Turned out he was a Rev. War reenactor, and showed me where he tucked back the good blankets. We wound up talking about the whole Y2K scare, and he informed me that if everything went wierd, he intended to pitch the campaign tent in the back yard since he could live in it more comfortably than he could in his house with no electricity.

5/24/2007 1:30 PM  
Blogger Little Black Car said...

. . . yeah.

Well, I guess it takes all kinds to make a world, doesn't it?

5/25/2007 7:38 AM  
Blogger Plain Foolish said...

Actually, I could kind of see that, here. Way too many houses here depend on electricity for *everything*. They're built on plans that are national, rather than local, so they're a pain to heat and cool, plus everything's electric - electric stove, electric heat, etc.

When Hurricane Isabelle came through, we ended up having to pull out some of our camp comforts (like the pierced tin lantern with the window) in order to stay comfy, so I could kind of see it, especially since there was no way that, even if there'd been a mess, it was going to last more than a few days.

Besides, I've seen what my own encampment does for luxurious camping and would fail to be surprised to discover that other reenactment types had created similarly decadent camps. (We have hot showers, curtained slat beds, vented heaters, a truly incredible camp kitchen, raised floors in some of the tents, etc.

My own tent is considerably more modest, but I know of a guy who has a house made of panels that he can construct in about an hour and a half that he takes to reenactments.

5/25/2007 8:35 AM  

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