I was born on Memorial Day, 1947. I remember well going down to the Village Green to hang out at the monument and watch the celebrations. I saw my sister playing in the band in the parade, for me. As I was in the extensive period of acquiring my height of 6′ 7″, I did quite poorly in the races, but participated. It was my birthday, after all. In my stint in the Boy Scouts, I stood at attention for the speeches and sang as our Scout Leader insisted that we march over and sing Happy Birthday to a young friend, something that still seems unreasonable, as the scouts did not sing for me. But it was my Birthday.
It seemed to me a cruel trick when, On June 28, 1968, the Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved four holidays, including Memorial Day, from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a convenient three-day weekend. The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional date to May’s last Monday.
Right! I lost the holiday of my birth for CONVENIENCE. Well it wasn’t convenient for me. It was then I decided that Memorial Day was my birthday, and would continue to be so, no matter on what Monday it may fall. A decision which began a long independence from authority. There are, for each of us, some issues on which we must take a stand. For me, at the significant age of 21, this was it.
I suppose this is the point here. Each of us are truly unique. Each one of us are presented on this world with gifts and tools, challenges and events never before seen in existence. BE that. Know yourself and find the path unique to you. At times the forces that direct you to conform may seem insurmountable, but each and every time you decide not to be yourself, the world looses something. No one else can do what you can do. I am reminded of the imortal words of Auntie Mame. “After all, if I can’t be myself, who can?”