By Nancy Spannaus
June 1, 2022—Memorial Day, which we celebrated earlier this week, marks the start of what I’d name the patriotic season. Three nationwide holidays happen over the course of a little bit greater than a month: Memorial Day is adopted by Flag Day on June 14, which is then adopted by the Fourth of July. Flags will likely be waving, parades held, patriotic colours will likely be worn, and iconic anthems will likely be sung, all praising our accomplishments as a nation, sadly with not a little bit triumphalism thrown in.
The truth that this spate of holidays coincides with the start of summer time trip clearly provides much more gaiety to the occasions.
However how many people cease to consider the precise significance of those celebrations? It’s straightforward to be swept up within the celebratory temper, or the sense of nostalgia, or the heart-rending tales of those that sacrificed their lives in our nationwide struggles. True citizenship, nevertheless, requires an understanding of the historical past of our nation, its highs and lows, and the essential rules on which it stands or falls.
A inhabitants which is guided primarily by its feelings is a inhabitants headed for hassle. Feelings may be aroused by each dictators and heroes, as no much less a pupil of our historical past than Abraham Lincoln identified in his well-known speech on the preservation of our republic establishments again in 1838. One of many distinguishing options of our nation, in truth, was the extent to which it was based upon concepts or rules, somewhat than the dictates or appeals to geographic origin, a standard historical past, and even language.
As Alexander Hamilton put it within the opening essay within the Federalist papers,
“It has been ceaselessly remarked that it appears to have been reserved to the folks of this nation, by their conduct and instance, to determine the necessary query, whether or not societies of males are actually succesful or not of building good authorities from reflection and selection, or whether or not they’re perpetually destined to rely for his or her political constitutions on accident and power.”
A Snapshot of the Holidays
So, let’s take a fast take a look at the three summer time patriotic holidays, to check how a lot we all know.
Memorial Day: The origins of this vacation lie within the aftermath of the Civil Battle, a conflict which killed some 700,000 of our residents. Unofficial strewings of flowers on the graves of the conflict lifeless had been adopted by Official Orders 11, issued by Normal John A. Logan, commander of the Grand Military of the Republic, in 1868. Logan’s proclamation known as for adorning and defending the resting locations of the troopers killed within the Civil Battle on Could 30 of yearly. In 1950, President Harry Truman responded to a decision in Congress to increase the day to honoring all of the nation’s conflict lifeless.
As well as, this decision shifted the main target towards not merely commemorating the previous however stopping conflict sooner or later!
Truman’s proclamation mirrored the solemnity of the occasion. It started:
Since conflict is the world’s most horrible scourge, we should always do all in our energy to forestall its recurrence.
It was the hope of mankind that with the cessation of hostilities of World Battle II the way in which can be open to founding a everlasting peace. As an alternative, that conflict has left the world in a state of continued unrest. Accordingly, we really feel the necessity of delivering humble suppliance to Almighty God for assist and steering. …
Flag Day: Whereas Flag Day by no means will get the sort of hoopla impressed by the opposite two patriotic occasions, we residents ought to definitely know what this official federal vacation is all about. In spite of everything, many Individuals actually died defending that flag. And, for a lot of of our fellow residents, judging by the streets of a whole lot of American hometowns, on daily basis is flag day.
June 14 was chosen as Flag Day as a result of it was on that day in 1777 that the Continental Congress handed the next decision: Resolved, That the flag of the USA be 13 stripes, alternate pink and white; that the union be 13 stars, white in a blue discipline, representing a brand new Constellation. This design changed what was known as the Grand Union flag, which included the Union Jack instead of the celebs, together with the white and pink stripes.
The primary recognition of the official American flag got here from French vessels in Quiberon Bay, France, saluted John Paul Jones and his ship, “The Ranger” on Feb. 14, 1778. However the honor of first acknowledging U.S. sovereignty by saluting the unofficial American flag goes to the island of St. Eustatius. Immediately, a plaque stands on the island, which tells the story:
In Commemoration of the Salute to the flag of the USA fired on this fort on 16 November 1776 by orders of Johannes de Graaff, Governor of Sint-Eustatius in reply to a nationwide gun-salute fired by the USA brig-of-war Andrew Doria beneath captain Isaiah Robinson of the Continental Navy. Right here the sovereignty of the USA of America was first formally acknowledged to a nationwide vessel by a international official. Offered by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President of the USA of America.
Independence Day: That is the massive one, after all, and it is going to be the topic of additional articles, maybe a collection, on this weblog over the approaching weeks and months, particularly as we’re arising upon the 250th anniversary of the proclamation of the Declaration of Independence. I’ve beforehand elaborated on the strategic significance of the choice for its issuance, in addition to the political battle concerned in making certain it will be adopted by Congress.
However there may be far more to be unraveled right here, and it’s of important significance to the way forward for our nation. A good portion of our residents, many motivated by noble sentiments in favor of racial and sexual equality, now proclaims this doc to be an train in hypocrisy. Some even fall for the false assertion that independence was declared in an effort to defend slavery. And on the pro-Declaration facet of the argument, we discover the needs of the Founders decreased to objections to the tea tax, or equated with the equal of libertarianism, i.e., freedom to “do your individual factor.”
Once more, I really feel compelled to level to the ideas of Abraham Lincoln in his 1838 Lyceum speech, which is so related to us right now. Now that the Founders are lifeless, and the feelings of the Revolutionary interval are handed, Lincoln mentioned, we should discover different means to protect our republican establishments. Referring to the passing of the Revolutionary era, he mentioned:
“However these histories are gone. They can be learn no extra perpetually. They had been a fortress of power; however what invading foeman may by no means do, the silent artillery of time has executed; the leveling of its partitions. They’re gone. They had been a forest of big oaks; however the all-resistless hurricane has swept over them, and left solely, right here and there, a lonely trunk, despoiled of its verdure, shorn of its foliage; unshading and unshaded, to murmur in a couple of light breezes, and to fight with its mutilated limbs, a couple of extra ruder storms, then to sink, and be no extra.
“They had been the pillars of the temple of liberty; and now, that they’ve crumbled away, that temple should fall, except we, their descendants, provide their locations with different pillars, hewn from the stable quarry of sober cause. Ardour has helped us; however can achieve this no extra. It can in future be our enemy. Purpose, chilly, calculating, unimpassioned cause, should furnish all of the supplies for our future help and defence.
Let these supplies be moulded into common intelligence, sound morality, and particularly, a reverence for the structure and legal guidelines …”
Lincoln’s recommendation, like that of George Washington and others, was that our patriotism should be knowledgeable by data. In our present turbulent occasions, we ignore that recommendation at our peril.
 The GAR was a fraternal group of Union veterans established in 1866.