by David Trumbull
June 1, 2000
You may recall my March 2000 column in which I wrote about Evacuation Day--which does not, as you might think, wrap up High Fiber Diet Awareness Week. Evacuation Day marks March 17, 1776, the day the British troops in Boston were evacuated, never to return. In recognition of this important historical event March 17--which I am assured is merely coincidentally St. Patrick's Day--is a paid holiday for state and local government employees.
The month of June brings us another infamous "hack holiday," to borrow a phrase from one local radio personality. Bunker Hill Day--in honor of the defenders of liberty at that eponymous battle on June 17, 1775--is also a paid holiday for state and local government workers, but not for me, and probably not for you either, gentle reader. And why is it that so few of us in the Dreaded Private Sector get the third Monday in April off in memory of the Patriots of 1776? Personally, as an employee of the textile industry, I think I shall lobby to get December 20--Samuel Slater Day--as a paid holiday.
Nevertheless, I am sure that we all appreciate our public employees. But just to be certain we do, the first Wednesday in June is set aside (Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 6, Section 15TT) as Public Employees Appreciation Day. I should have thought that payday was appreciation enough. In case you think a day is not enough, MGL Chap. 6, Sec. 12CC designates the first week of August as Public Employees Week. Hey, one week of work out of fifty-two is not a lot to expect, even from an MBTA "worker."
The great men and events of the Revolution bequeathed us traditions of liberty and equality--not to mention the three-day weekend. While some commemorations--for example Italian American War Veterans of the United States, Inc. Day, March 27--are of than less universal appeal, they, along with Independence Day and others, remind us of the men and women who fought to keep us free. In June we remember: Retired Members of the Armed Forces Day (first Monday in June); Destroyer Escort Day (third Saturday in June); Battleship Massachusetts Memorial Day (last Saturday in June); and Korean War Veterans Day (June 25).
Nor is it only in war that our fellow Bay Staters and Americans risk their lives for us. Hence we set aside the second Sunday in June as Fire Fighters Memorial Sunday. Here's to you, Dean! (Note: EH publisher Dean Wallace has some awesome stories about his experience as a volunteer fire fighter.)
While the rest of America celebrates Presidents Day, combining the commemorations for President Washington and President Lincoln, here in the Bay State the third Monday in February is officially observed as Washington's Birthday. Lincoln, who freed the slaves and saved the Union, was, after all, a Republican, and so is not honored with a legal holiday in Massachusetts. Lincoln's Birthday, February 12, is marked by a mere proclamation by the governor, the same status as, for example, is accorded Winthrop Beach Awareness Day (last Saturday in June). I was not aware of that!
Liberal constituencies, meanwhile, get ample recognition. The education-industrial complex's contribution to the coffers of Democrat politicians is honored on the first Sunday in June as Teachers' Day. Environmentalists celebrate on days ranging from Earth Day and Arbor and Bird Day (both in April), Keep Massachusetts Beautiful Month (May), Endangered Species Day (in September), and above all with Home Composting Recognition Week at the end of February.
The homeless get both a day, Homeless Unity Day, and a week, Homeless Awareness Week (both in February). They'd probably prefer a home. Surely some victim group will object that insensitively titled American Indian Heritage Week (in May) should be renamed along the lines of Native American Day which falls in September.
Speaking of politically incorrect. How did Massachusetts, of all places, come to designate October as Pro-Life Month?
[David Trumbull is Chairman of the Cambridge Republican City Committee.]