Not only did Hanabusa manage to once again remind voters of her close ties to the late Dan Inouye — the longtime senator long pushed for the same holiday change — she also no doubt endeared herself to the many service members, veterans and their families who live in the islands. Oahu is home to many military bases and base employees and a couple of veterans cemeteries.
But is changing Memorial Day a good idea?
Hanabusa certainly has a good point.
Memorial Day — more accurately, it seems, Memorial Day Weekend — is better known to many as the semi-official kickoff to summer. Fire up the barbecue! Start that vacation! Go see Fast & Furious 6!
How many know that Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day and originated after the Civil War? How many take the time, as Hanabusa puts it, to “honor those who died courageously in battle”?
Reaction to Hanabusa’s proposal has been mixed. Check out KITV’s Facebook page, where Mahealanai Richardson’s interview with the congresswoman this week is posted.
“Who made her in charge of what we do on memorial day weekend??? Get to something more important PLEASE!!” wrote Theresa Kuuipo Kavanaugh Carvalho.
“She’s advocating for the ‘Thought Police’! What’s next forcing citizens to recognize the ‘true meaning’ of Christmas?” wrote Holly J. Huber.
On that last point: probably not. Hanabusa is a Buddhist.
Speaking of which: The way many people on Oahu celebrate Memorial Day is by floating a lantern out from Ala Moana Beach Park.
Interestingly, the tradition, now in its 15th year, was initiated by the head of the Shinnyo-en Buddhist Order for the purpose of honoring all who have passed away, not just war dead, in order to create cultural harmony and understanding.
Hanabusa’s legislation raises other questions.
We are not going to change Independence Day (July 4), Christmas Day (Dec. 25) and New Year’s Day (Jan. 1), even when they fall inconveniently in the middle of the week. When that happens, of course, it’s common for folks to take off the day (or two) before or after — making it a three-, four- or five-day weekend.
But, if we hold Memorial Day on its original date, do we also change Martin Luther King Jr. Day? This year it was held Jan. 21 — a Monday — though the martyred civil rights leader was born Jan. 15.
Veterans Day for a while was held on the fourth Monday in October, even though it commemorates the end of World War I that came at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918. In 1978, Veterans Day was changed back to Nov. 11.
Speaking of Veterans Day and Presidents Day, maybe there should be a law that prohibits the improper use of an apostrophe — e.g., Veterans’ Day or President’s Day.
And, while we’re at it, maybe we should drop Presidents Day altogether, which actually does not exclusively honor George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, who were born in February. Are we also honoring Millard Fillmore, Warren G. Harding and Richard Nixon?
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