Remembrance Days – Are They Worthwhile?

By August 31, 2018Informative, Other

September is full of days that beckon us to remember and to appreciate. VJ Day and 9/11 Remembrance Day remind us of victories and loss, sacrifice and heroes. We appreciate the hard work that allows us to celebrate Labor Day and Citizenship Day. We recall our roots on Grandparents Day, Step Family Day, and Native American Day, while also celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month. But is it even worth your time to pay special attention to them?

A casual acknowledgement may not have much impact, and can actually end up deflating the deeper concepts. Some educators believe we ought to teach children how to think critically about memorials rather than rote, empty observance.1 If we were to take a little time to dig in, we would gather not only appreciation, but also a clearer world view.

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Allied military personnel in Paris celebrating V-J Day. Photo by Public Domain.

Remember Sacrifice

VJ Day and the rest of the WWI & WWII commemorations are stories quickly fading into the unobserved past. They seem like a world away. Yet a brief study of history or humanity would quickly remind us how easily situations and choices can arise again. Remembrance days shouldn’t solely mourn lost lives and celebrate heroes. If we let them, they could teach us politics and philosophy, or remind us of hope and reconciliation. September 11th reaches closer to the memories of our hearts and minds. For some, it’s a chance to honor the memories of those who perished that day or in the conflicts since. For the children born since then, it is important for them to sympathize with the loss, but also recognize how this event catapulted the world into what we see today.

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Rockefeller Center Construction Site on September 20, 1932

Remember Service

Labor Day pays tribute to the hard work of American workers. We like to take advantage of not only a day of rest and enjoyment, but a long weekend! We enjoy leisure due to the fruits of the labor of many people. Hard work provides for the needs of the laborer and creates purpose and achievement. Workers’ contributions build a better world for each of us. Meanwhile Constitution Day and Citizenship day remind us of our nation’s unique system which strives to give each person a chance to better their lives. Through these rights given at birth or naturalization, a person has the ability to engage in serving our country and enjoying the benefits.

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Immigrants on board a ship arriving in New York. About 1910. (Photo by Franz Hubmann/Imagno/Getty Images)

Remember Your Source

September is also filled with days honoring one’s family and ethnic roots. Grandparents Day and Step Family Day are relatable to many. These days encourage us to recognize and appreciate the values and heritage that were passed along from generations and married-in family. Native American Day and Hispanic Heritage Month are part of the observances that bring up questions of diversity and representation. Some results can end up negative if they do not encourage deeper understanding and growth. Rather than focusing on only a few themes that stereotype or propagate friction, it’s a good idea to bring out a variety of topics. We grow by understanding and appreciating the diversity of backgrounds, experiences, and abilities. We celebrate our shared values and victories. These stories of our sources can help us continue together with a better future.

It’s easy to let the month fly by without appreciating the value of each observance. The stories behind commemorations teach subsequent generations a community’s history, social and political customs. The stories we tell of events and our heritage give us a better appreciation for the people who went before us. They explain the world we know today. This month, look into the deeper meanings of these holidays yourself to celebrate your foundation and honor the life-changing events of the past!


  2. VJ-Day Photo via <a href=””>Good Free Photos</a>