1) You have to wait an extra day to go to the doctor, dentist, or vet (unless you want to pay the exorbitant urgent care fees and after-hour fees).
2) Because government offices are shut down, private businesses have to wait an extra day to get permits and such, stalling production and having employees have a day with no extra money in their pocket.
3) The day AFTER the holiday, no one wants to go to a bank or government offices such as the DMV because the lines will be long and cumbersome. And no one wants to return to work who had the day off because the day after a holiday is non-stop insanity, trying to make up the day. (I DID have a life BC (before children) where I worked in a bank so I do know!).
4) The kids are out of school. This is a huge problem for working parents who are not fortunate enough to have the day off who now have to hire a baby-sitter or pay for a day-long camp. Plus, like it or not, all these little holidays add up to an extra week of school since most states stipulate number of days kids must be in school. This prolongs the school year to June in some cases or causes schools to start earlier in August.
5) The Post Office is closed. No receiving mail. No sending mail.
6) It compartmentalizes causes, in effect diminishing them, by squeezing all activities and commemorations into a 24 hour time-span. Basically, by declaring “today is the day for…”, it implies every other day is not.
And this is just the US.
It’s similar in other countries.
Take England for example. They have holidays called “Bank Holidays”. This is now a colloquial term for all public holidays but to foreigners like me I had presumed it was for no other reason than banks wanted a holiday. Well, don’t we all, I thought at the time. Still, the misnomer is confusing and seems to just be days off from work.
Then there’s Spain. The whole month of August is a virtual holiday as most family-owned businesses shut down and go on vacation. This is bad news for those foreign students moving there in summer for the fall semester. This means most private businesses are shut down, no one is renting apartments, etc. Nothing gets done. If you want food, you usually have one choice: El Corte Ingles. And good luck if there’s not one near you. The city is a virtual ghost town (and small towns are even worse) and the only ones walking around are tourists (who have no where to go!).
[Disclaimer: this is based off of when I lived in Spain 15 years ago. I have read that the month has been shortened to 2-3 weeks because of tourists and it may not be as bad as I make it out. However, it was bad when I arrived!].
I am in NO WAY discounting what these holidays commemorate. Trust me, I am the first to thank the soldiers who sacrifice their lives for our freedom (both of my grandfathers and several uncles served). And I love the Fourth of July, which celebrates our country’s independence.
What I am saying is this: despite all the altruistic reasons to celebrate these causes they often cause inconveniences and have unforeseen repercussions.
We should be grateful every day for our independence and for soldiers who fought for it. We should remember our troops and their families every day of the year. We should be grateful every day (and not need Thanksgiving as one day to force us to be grateful) for what God provides for us. We should remember Christ’s birth every day and thank God for sending Jesus. We should remember our Presidents and Martin Luther King.
Point being: we shouldn’t need the federal government to step in and pick a random day that says, “This day we will force Americans to celebrate such-and-such”. And then the private sector gets involved and even the most noble causes become secularized (particularly Christmas and Thanksgiving–both meant to thank God for His provision and His son and are now reasons that are set on the back-burner).
[And I’m not even going to rant about non-official “holidays” such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween, etc. That is for another post. Suffice it to say the principle remains the same. I, as a mother, should be appreciated every day of the year and not just one!].
On the flip side, the good thing about holidays is they do force us Americans who are crazy busy to take a break and remember (at least for one day) our blessings, those who served our country and changed it for the better, and be thankful for it. One day is better than none. One prayer is better than none.
So, what does this say about our society? I’ll let you be the judge…
Personally, this Memorial Day, I will be home with the kids and dogs, hopefully playing outside if the weather is nice. I shall have to wait until Tuesday for my dentist appointment and to call my vet about my dog (who coincidentally is having teeth problems as well). I will pray for our current troops and take a moment to remember the fallen.
But it will be a day just like any other in my life–one I shall try to live as Jesus would: prayerfully and thankfully, purposefully and for others, shining God’s Holy Spirit to the world. In accordance with God’s will. Always and forever.