Schools need to recognize national holidays

Gina Villecco ('11)/ Eastside Humor Editor and Gina Villecco ('11)/ Eastside Humor Editor

Holiday: (n) a day fixed by law or custom on which ordinary business is suspended in commemoration of some event or in honor of some person.

According to this definition, holidays are celebrated by taking off of work or school because of specific religious days or memorable moments in history. However, in most schools, holidays are solely religious days causing those other important historical days to be left ignored.

Rosh Hashanah, Christmas, Yom Kippur and Easter are four religious days that most schools around the country acknowledge , and on those days, many schools are not in session. Of course, these days are very important; however, these holidays are only celebrated by only a select group of Americans. There are other unreligious, national holidays that some schools fail to recognize that every American citizen celebrates. For example, Columbus Day and Pearl Harbor Day are two major pieces of American history for which every American citizen should be obligated to take a break and honor.

Columbus Day was created in honor of Christopher Columbus’s arrival to the New World. If any national holiday were to be celebrated, one of the most important ones should be Columbus Day because this was the day that marked the beginning of the history of the United States of America.

America celebrates Pearl Harbor Day in remembrance of the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1941. The attack left many wounded and killed over 1,100 crewmembers on the Battleship Arizona alone, which resulted in the start of World War II. This holiday holds a strong importance in American history, yet students do not miss classes. Because the schools do not acknowledge the significance of that day in history, many students remain unaware of it as well.

These days alone have just as much significance as the holidays our schools do give off for. These holidays include Thanksgiving, the traditional American celebration of giving thanks that began at the Plymouth Plantation in 1621; New Year’s, the day that marks the beginning of the new year; and even Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day of remembrance to Martin Luther King Jr., who was a chief spokesman for nonviolence activism and a peaceful protestor against racial discrimination.

Everyone in America can celebrate each national holiday because it does not pertain to one’s religion in any way. However, most schools still ignore this fact. According to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the legal national holidays include Columbus Day and Washington Day as well as New Year’s, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. However, the law states that each state has its own jurisdiction over what it wants to do with each holiday.

If schools in America are going to take off for some national holidays, they should take off for all national holidays because every holiday has important meaning. This would also decrease the contradiction among students, parents and faculty members all around the United States of America.