Americans seem to have this thing for commemorations, even if they are created out of thin air. There is National Eat Your Jello Day on July 12, not to be confused with National Jello Week, held the second week of February and made official by the Utah Legislature in 2001. In fact, there are over 1,200 different reasons to celebrate throughout the year within the U.S.
Sometimes these conjured up observations grow legs and tentacles. Earth Day was established and promulgated by “environmentalists” supposedly to encourage taking care of the natural world around us. The Earth Day website complains about trees being cut down and not replaced, yet in our local areas it is groups like these obstructionists that continually stop progress. Case in point is when the Black Hills was inundated with pine beetles. The trees were killed by the beetles. They needed to be removed or become tinder for forest fires. Once the trees are removed new ones can be planted. But the environmentalists sue and stop removal of dead trees. Fortunately, our state government is more in touch with reality than the federal government is when it comes to damaged trees. After a bad fire on private land and in Custer State Park a few years ago, the state hired loggers who went in and salvaged the trees that were usable for many purposes. The feds still have dead trees standing or on the ground from fires years ago.
It’s better to celebrate positive events such as National Ag Week annually held in March. It extols the progress made by agricultural producers worldwide. In areas of increased productivity and conservation of water, just to name two, farmers and ranchers should be praised, not vilified.
Kwanza is another such creation that was started in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga. It runs from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1. The generations born after Kwanza was established may incorrectly believe it was a long-standing tradition.
In 1990, South Dakota’s Gov. George Mickleson appealed to the legislature to re-designate Columbus Day to Native American Day, to pay homage to the Indians who were in the country before Columbus and to offer it as a Day of Reconciliation. It was the only state in the nation that made a change at that time. The balance of the country does Columbus Day with some celebrations turning into drunken brawls and riots in the street.
Perhaps the most puzzling is the U.S. observance of Cinco De Mayo, which is not Mexico’s Independence Day, as some believe. Instead, it marks a battle between the French army and Mexican militia in the Battle of Puebla, Mexico, in 1862. It had nothing to do with the U.S., so why is it commemorated in this country?
It’s simple, really. Americans just like to celebrate, anything and everything, including St. Patrick’s Day when everyone seems to be just a little bit Irish.