Was I supposed to do something today? Was I suppose to think certain thoughts and perfrom certain rituals? Or did the day belong to me to do with it as I saw fit?
I took some heat earlier on the comment thread of another post for revealing that I planned to celebrate Memorial Day with a barbque. Is that fair? A legal holiday isn't a Jewish holiday, it carries no obligations. Jewish holidays are heavy with Meaning and Purpose. Legal holidays aren't - unless you, of your own volition, choose to weigh them down.
Earlier, I was chastized for disrespecting the soldiers. That's unfortunate. I honestly believe that if our soldiers died for anything, it was to free us from the obligation of agreeing about what has Meaning and what has Purpose. We honor the soldiers and their sacrfice not with ceremonies, but with our freedom. What's more valuable than freedom of conciousness?
Beyond that, it's a gift to be able to relax, away from work, with friends on a legal holiday. A gift. Yes, this gift coincides with a day set aside to honor dead soldiers, but the dead soldiers aren't all that give value to the day.
Another thought: Some of my friends work for Jews, and they were required to be at their desks today. No one is stingier with vacation days than a Jewish boss. If you work for a non-Jew, you're free to stay home on both yom tov, and the legal holidays and the world continues to spin on its axis. But Jewish bosses like to pretend that vacation on yom tov is a great gift, unknown in non-Jewish firms. They use this self-servbing fantasy as a cudgel to deny you other off-days. This sucks, so if you do work for Jews, you have my sympathy.