Friday, July 4, 2008

What day is it?

Or, should I say, what day is it to you?

The evolution of the English language is interesting to me. We no longer say 'thee' and thou', for instance, and for that I am grateful. You would probably even get some questioning stares if you said something was 'groovy'. In particular, though, we seem to be removing all references to pain and suffering from our language. For example, we no longer 'die', we 'pass away'. And when we are 'interred' (not 'buried') it will be in a 'memorial garden' rather than a 'graveyard'.

I guess we do this to avoid all the pain and offense we can. But I wonder how healthy it is to exclude all of it. Without pain, how do we recognize the absence of it? Without the dark, how do we discern the light? In my life, I have found that the good and beautiful things stand out all the more in times of darkness and pain.

It seems that every year, more and more I hear this day referred to as 'the Fourth of July' rather than 'Independence Day'. I wonder if we began calling it such to avoid the reference to the battles, the losses, and the sacrifices to gain our freedom as a nation. But to my mind, it dishonors those who fought and died so that their descendants could live in a land of privilege and abundance.

So you celebrate as you choose today. But as we go about our festivities today, I think I'll say "Happy Independence Day"!

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