Thoughts about commemoration and utility


Here in the USA, today, October 8th, is Columbus Day. According to a friend of mine, this commemorates the day that the indigenous people of North America discovered a European sailor wandering around in the Caribbean, hopelessly lost and convinced he had arrived somewhere near India (hence the name West Indies).

Most countries have such commemorative days—sometimes to recall battles or national events, sometimes based on religious festivals.

What is their purpose? Are they simply an excuse for a holiday? Shouldn’t we use them for true recollection, if not of the original battle or person, then for something else?

You can find my answers to these questions in my article today for (Next Saturday (or maybe the one after that) is “Doing Nothing Day”).

It seems to me that we should have such days whenever we need them—not to remember events long past or religious stories, but to give ourselves time to think about who and what we are and our choices in life—to take pleasure in being alive and contemplate what it might mean to live a life worthy of the miracle of even being here.

This, to me at least, is truly something worth commemorating.

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