Matthew R. Perry

The “Other” Holiday Season (James Clymer, Constitution Party)

In Culture, Patriotic Days on June 24, 2006 at 11:28 pm

From the desk of James N. Clymer
Constitution Party National Chairman

It has become customary to refer to the period from Thanksgiving week through New Year's Day as the "holiday season," and with good reason. Many major holidays, including Christmas and Hanukkah, are clustered in that six-week span. With the passage of time, the holiday season has expanded, with the first Christmas decorations sometimes appearing before Halloween, and the holiday shopping season becoming the lynchpin supporting much of the entire retail sector. I enjoy Christmas and Thanksgiving as much now as I ever did as a boy, and am certain our culture would be immeasurably impoverished without them.

There is, however, a second holiday season, a span of five weeks in late spring and early summer when we observe no less than three holidays, all of them patriotic in nature, but only one of which is still celebrated in a way that our ancestors would remotely recognize.

The first, the "Thanksgiving" if you will, of the patriotic holiday season, is Memorial Day, which originated in May 1868 as "Decoration Day," in honor of those who fell in the War Between the States. After World War I, the holiday was expanded to honor all of America's war dead, and in 1971, it was made into a national holiday. Once upon a time, Americans honored Memorial Day with parades, visits to cemeteries, and other commemorative events. Nowadays, unfortunately, very few Americans under fifty see Memorial Day as anything more than a paid holiday and an excuse for a barbecue or a weekend camping trip.

Two weeks after Memorial Day, on June 14th, falls the almost-forgotten Flag Day. On this day in 1777, the standard that evolved into our modern-day stars and stripes was officially countenanced by the Continental Congress. It was first observed in 1877 on the hundredth anniversary of our flag's creation. Since then various U.S. Presidents, including Woodrow Wilson and Harry S. Truman, have given Flag Day national recognition. As reverence for the flag has diminished, so too interest in Flag Day has waned, although many patriotic organizations and individuals still observe the holiday. My home state of Pennsylvania, in fact, has made Flag Day a legal holiday!

Finally, on July 4th we celebrate our independence, although the date marks only the signing of the Declaration of Independence and not victory over Great Britain when our independence became an established fact. Independence Day is still marked by parades, fireworks, and other patriotic activities, all of which prove that love of country is alive and well in the United States of America.

It is unfortunate that we have so willingly allowed our independence to be compromised by membership in organizations like the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, NAFTA, and the International Monetary Fund, to mention but a few. The modern web of international governing bodies, all of which are designed to be way-stations on the road to world government, are often touted as enhancing our "interdependence." This they certainly do. However, it's worth pointing out that interdependence, unlike independence, is merely a form of dependence, the very antithesis of what our Founders wished for our nation. America is dependent on outside powers – for oil, manufacturing, borrowed money, and many other things – only to the extent that she chooses to be so. The assets of this great land are such that, if we wished, we could be self-sufficient for all of our essential needs.

Certainly the dead we honor on Memorial Day did not make the supreme sacrifice in the hope that America would someday become dependent on foreign powers. The flag we honor on Flag Day is not the standard of the United Nations or any other international body. And the independence we celebrate in early July presupposes dependence only on God, the grantor of our Rights.

May we of the Constitution Party all recommit our lives to honoring our country and the sacrifices of our forefathers, and to upholding the principles that have made America great during this, the "other" holiday season.

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