Saturday, May 25, 2024
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Americans need a day to recover from the Fourth. Why not repurpose Flag Day?

‘Recovery Day:’ Move Flag Day To July Fifth To Make For Double Holiday



The jury is back in.

After we ran up the pole several proposed alternative dates for often-neglected and crowded-out Flag Day (June 14, by the way), there was a surprising consensus for an idea that just might work:

Move Flag Day to July 5, if for no other reason than to allow Americans a day of rest following July Fourth late-night festivities and interrupted sleep from firecrackers.

“Make [Flag Day] a national holiday on July 5th that way we all got a day to recover from the fourth and being out late for fireworks,” one commenter suggested.

We’ve got to admit: the idea has merit, even if it seems just plain lazy on the surface. For starters the flags are already out, so that base is covered.

While a two-day observance may not seem as relevant this year with the Fourth on a Tuesday — many celebrations were held over the weekend or on Monday night — Americans do like their rest. After all, we learned from a major U.S. Supreme Court decision on Friday that keeping a Sabbath has often fallen by the wayside and is in need of legal protection for those who still keep a weekly, mandatory day of rest.

We originally suggested (among other alternatives) moving Flag Day to Aug. 3 to commemorate the first-known flying of Old Glory in battle. Aug. 3 was the date of the Siege of Fort Stanwix, during which “soldiers cut up their shirts to make the white stripes,” “red material was sourced from red flannel petticoats of officers’ wives,” and “the blue union was secured from Capt. Abraham Swartwout‘s blue cloth coat.” A day to celebrate ingenuity and have kids make their own flags could add new life to an overlooked holiday.

But the idea failed to inspire. A day to sleep off a hangover, pick up Black Cat shards, or catch a matinee seemed like the kind of concept Americans could really prop their feet up on.

Others who commented suggested the date of the Battle of New Orleans (Jan. 8) as the day any fear of a British take-back of America was eliminated. And as one option we threw out there, Dec. 3 is the date the Grand Union flag was adopted. Though the Grand Union design had the Union Jack in the corner along with the familiar 13 stripes, it was also technically our first flag. Or naval vessel identifier, if we want to get really technical. It may be that the concept of a national flag was foreign to our Founders.

Snore.

While we’re still talking history, the Fifth of July is not without some significance. During the ramp-up to the Civil War, as Abolitionism was spreading rapidly among the Northern States, many abolitionists including Frederick Douglass urged Americans to forego Fourth of July activities to protest that blacks were still not all free. Yet this was done with an optimistic eye, in stark contrast to radical and divisive revisionist efforts to make Texas-born Juneteenth into an alternative “National Independence Day” (its formal title, believe it or not) to support the 1619 Project dual history narrative.

There’s a religious angle to the July 5 suggestion: the Judeo-Christian tradition of a holiday or feast day being observed from sundown to sundown, as as laid out in the Bible (Leviticus 23:32 as one example). The bulk of Independence Day activities happen during the evening. God surely knew what he was doing giving man the next morning to relax.

And while we got the Bible open, here’s some sermonizing: Over 20.5 million U.S. adults are either in substance abuse recovery or have recovered. The notion of a “Recovery Day” may help bring awareness to this rising statistic.

For this reason and others, the Fifth can also be an unexpected day away from the office. There’s the aforementioned hangovers for many. But also, Americans set a new record for airline travel yesterday, and flight delays and cancellations are slowing down travelers more than ever, sometimes well past the Fourth.

Then there’s the totally expected, pre-meditated extra day off. According to a study that’s a little more scientific than ours, the day after July Fourth is in the Top Ten of days Americans call in “sick” to work. And when Independence Day fell on a Thursday in 2019, the following Monday became “July Fourth Observed” to make for a five-day weekend. No surprise there for anyone who has ever managed a staff.

It might be worth it to some enterprising social scientist to see whether a July Fifth holiday would be a popularly accepted idea, and whether moving Flag Day would even be an option. Survey, anyone? Push poll for a candidate?

Speaking of candidates, the Fifth may even make for a compelling campaign trail issue for the 2024 presidential field to harp on this week. Any takers, especially down in the “kids table” club? It might play well in Iowa. Vivek Ramaswamy, call your office.