The recognition of people and events has gotten way out of hand in this country. In the process, we have overlooked some deserving celebrations.
This month alone, we have designated "holidays" for such items as seafood, sarcasm, golf and Frankenstein's monster.
I love seafood (well, some of it, anyway), I've been known to be sarcastic a time or two and I watch the Masters on TV, but I haven't swung a golf club since August 1979. Oh, and I love horror movies.
But do any of those things or people (I'm counting Frankenstein's creation as "people" with an asterisk) deserve a holiday?
The silliness of all of those alleged holidays, however, did get me to thinking about other potential celebrations that could be national in scope. I stuck mainly with people I felt have been overlooked and had no trouble coming up with worthy recipients of potential holidays. My original list was about 100, which I narrowed down to the following five.
I tried to touch a lot of bases with these choices:
º Elvis Presley: I would suggest celebrating Elvis Day on a designated Saturday, probably in August since he died Aug. 16, 1977. Can you imagine the celebration this could grow into over the years?
It's probably safe to say no entertainment figure in our nation's history has commanded the attention of this man -- even 36 years following his passing. I think Elvis Day would easily grow into Elvis Weekend with all sorts of coast-to-coast concerts and TV specials. Did you know he received the Lifetime Grammy Achievement Award at the tender age of 36? That, friends, is having an impact.
º Walt Disney: Sure, the man made a gazillion dollars, but he also helped redfine a nation's concept of family entertainment. How popular are his original ideas today? The Disney television, motion picture, vacation destination and other media outlets bring in $40 billion a year. Only Elvis is probably more popular than Mickey Mouse.
º Neil Armstrong: The first man to walk on the moon is a national hero in the truest sense. He died last year following complications from coronary artery bypass surgery. Armstrong's colleague on the famed 1969 Apollo 11 mission, Buzz Aldrin, said, "I was "deeply saddened by (Armstrong's) passing. I know I am joined by millions of others in mourning the passing of a true American hero and the best pilot I ever knew. I had truly hoped that on July 20th, 2019, Neil, Mike (Collins) and I would be standing together to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of our moon landing. Regrettably, this is not to be."
If ever an event deserved some sort of national holiday, this is it. And Neil Armstrong is the figure most closely tied to the success of America's space program. (Sorry conspiracy theorists, but I still believe we landed some men on the moon.)
º Ben Franklin: Franklin earned the title of "The First American" for his role in colonial unity and is arguably the most recognized of our Founding Fathers, probably because of his cool hair. An inventor, statesman and scientist -- among many other things -- the finest tribute I ever read of Franklin said he personified the "hard-work attitude that made America great." This man definitely needs an official holiday.
º Albert Einstein: I admittedly wrestled with this one a bit, because the German-born Einstein was not a native American, but he became a U.S. citizen in 1940. He was visiting America when Adolf Hitler came to power, and so did not return to his homeland.
Einstein often expressed his appreciation of U.S. culture when compared with Europe. Einstein recognized the American "right of individuals to say and think what they pleased," without social barriers.
"No one humbles himself before another person or class ... American youth has the good fortune not to have its outlook troubled by outworn traditions," Einstein once wrote.
Einstein's tremendous intellectual accomplishments and originality have made the word "Einstein" synonymous with genius -- and he richly deserves a holiday, too.
Those are my picks for potential national holidays. I'd be very interested to hear from you about some of your choices.