A Look Ahead …

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The beginning of summer is upon us. Not the official summer by the equinox, but the social season, by the placement of the first of the two main holidays. Summer always begins socially in the USA with Memorial Day, and ends with Labor Day.

This coming Monday being Memorial Day Observed (Official Memorial Day is always May 30th), this weekend is the start of the Summer Season, socially.

Here in Kansas City, that means the opening of the Oceans of Fun section of Worlds of Fun. This year Oceans of Fun opens on Friday morning. Since I have to work, and didn’t take a vacation day for it, I won’t be able to be there at opening — a tradition of mine for many years — but I intend to make it before the end of the day.

Worlds of Fun also has several Military Appreciation days throughout the year, and one of them is Monday, May 29, Memorial Day Observed. Complimentary tickets available for active duty, retired or reserve military with honorable or medical discharge and government issued ID. They can also received discounted tickets for some members of their families on that day.

Which is a natural segue to the comment about Memorial Day.

What also will be happening is the placement of a lot of flowers. Memorials remembering those who died in active military service; also, more generally, and not meant to detract from those who died in service, it is used by many as the placing of flowers on the graves of all loved ones who have gone before. I know my family will be placing flowers on the graves of my family back in New York State. Not living anywhere close to those graves, I haven’t participated in that tradition in many years, but I do think about them.

Finally, there will be a lot of picnics over the weekend.  For while Memorial Day is an observance (one should not wish someone a “Happy Memorial Day”, at least according to some people, based on the somber nature of the observance) it is also a holiday, and people do celebrate and play. So remember to take time to be thankful for the sacrifices given, while you take full exercise of the freedoms those sacrifices make possible.

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For those following, below are the current stats on the All Season Dining plan:

Total Price Paid $497.44
Total Number of Meals 125
Total Retail $1,280.70
Average Price Per Meal $3.98
Total Drink Price 29.64
Total number of drinks 99
Total Retail $99.00
Average Price Per Drink $0.30
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Memorial Day — An eclectic review

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Okay, this might be one of those link type posts that get me out of having to write and think too much — or it might be a brilliant gestalt of what I saw on Monday online.

Why is everyone able to offend, and be offended, so much on Memorial Day?

In this first story, Facebook banned a woman from posting to facebook for 3 days because the picture she put up of her husband’s gravestone (he was a military veteran), was offensive in the context in which it was posted.  She naturally was offended at an action that seems to diss the service he gave our country.

In this next story, a serving military man and his bride are dissed by people when a picture from their Saturday wedding of them praying was posted on Memorial Day. People felt they were dishonoring those had gone before, even though the picture was not posted by them, but by their photographer.

Now, I have no clue why Facebook ever does what it does. Some fancy program figures out whats offensive, what ads I want to see, etc. But it just seems crazy to ban a person for putting up a picture of a headstone, but not ban the guy who voiced hoping a military plane went down and all the Americans on it died.

And the wedding thing is even crazier.

Ah well, we are Americans, with freedom to say what we think, and we often do it with abandon.

I’ll close with this video of Ronald Reagan speaking.

Holidays in Comparison

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Well, tonight is the night — New Year’s Eve.  Ho Hum.

Had a conversation last night with my in-laws’ German exchange student about what people were planning for New Year’s Eve, what were the foods people eat in America on New Year’s etc. Was an interesting question, seeing I had been mulling this column for today at least several hours before that conversation.

Because really, for me, New Year’s is one of the least consequential holidays of the year.  Really, why do I stay up and lose sleep, just to observe a specific marker on the calendar. Why do I think so? How do I rate holidays?

At work we are given 9 holidays a year, and 3 floating holidays/personal days. Those holidays are:

  • New Year’s Day
  • MLK
  • Presidents’ Day
  • Good Friday
  • Memorial Day
  • July 4th
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas

As I would rate those days, The ones that don’t fall on a Monday are probably the most significant to me:

  • Easter (which is the real holiday of which Good Friday is the lead-in)
  • July 4th
  • Thanksgiving
  • Christmas

Which leaves the Monday holidays:

  • MLK Day
  • Presidents’ Day
  • Memorial day
  • Labor Day

Notice how I left New Year’s Day out of both lists.  It has more in common with the Monday holidays, but does float around the week for how it occurs.

The first list, with the exception of July 4th, are all religious holidays. The first list, with the exception of Thanksgiving, all mark specific historical events. They are all commemorations, connect us with the past in a commitment to the future.

The Monday list items are just nice secular days to have time off. As celebrated they don’t have any special observances done.

So where does that leave New Year’s? It isn’t religious, it isn’t a commemoration. It is a time to take off. 

There is a story I shared with the German exchange student last night, one that showed my age — from back in the old days of the 1980s. I mentioned the name Oliver North, and the Iran Contra affair.  

When Oliver North was in the middle of the media eye on Iran Contra, he couldn’t go anywhere, couldn’t leave his house, without hordes of the press there to follow him, continually watching his house. Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, didn’t matter, the press was there. Only one day showed a respite.  The media took off New Year’s Eve (and New Year’s day — had to sleep that binge off, after all). 

Being a minor press figure at the time, I found that observation interesting. I think it has colored my perception of the eve/day ever since.