I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more daily than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, & LGBT advocacy.
One of our friendly neighborhood broadcasters regularly posts various questions on Facebook about a range of topics. I've often enjoyed responding to these questions, and tonight was no exception. Recently, the broadcaster asked, "When do you think is acceptable to have the holiday decorations out?"
On my current social media feeds—Facebook and Twitter, predominantly—there's at least one or two posts a day about when it's acceptable to put holiday decorations up. This debate particularly starts to heat up as we approach Remembrance Day—Veterans' Day in the United States. While some of these posted images are rather thoughtful about the importance of honoring our veterans, there are some posts that outwardly state that you are disrespecting veterans simply by choosing to put your decorations up prior to Remembrance Day, with some of these images exhorting people to RESPECT OUR VETERANS in big capital letters at the bottom.
Honor Veterans and Current Military Members Every Day
What people seem to forget is that while the hostilities of World War I officially ceased on the 11th day, at the 11th hour, in the 11th month, there are another 364 (365 on a leap year) days of the year where it would be perfectly acceptable to honor veterans. While I've seen impressive Remembrance Day services, both at the high school level and in my husband's and my father's time in the military, it's one day. It's an important day—extremely so, and I always get a bit choked up at our high school services—our veterans and current serving members are deserving of far more than just one day of observance.
I can say with relative confidence that my father, who passed in 2013, would probably not fully understand why people would make such a fuss about when to put up Christmas decorations. In all honesty, it felt as though retailers were moving from one season to the next entirely too quickly when I was growing up; we'd just nicely see the summer vacation displays up when the back to school gear would start making its way into the stores.
I have a real issue with those individuals who claim that people who put Christmas decorations up prior to Remembrance Day do not respect or honor veterans and current serving members of the military. Remembrance Day is just one day of the year, and our military members actually work hard all the time to defend our fundamental freedoms.
My father was in the military for 24 and a half years. My husband was in for at least two and a half decades. I was a reservist for a year, and my mother held the rank of lieutenant prior to my birth. The military is something I know and honor with every fibre of my being. I may not always agree with some of its policies, or how the higher-ups may treat its lower-ranked members, but the bottom line is, these men and women who have fought and continue to fight for our fundamental freedoms and for justice anywhere throughout the world deserve every ounce of respect we can give them.
Christmas decorations have to do with one overall theme: Christmas. While there have been several instances over the years where military members have had to be away at Christmas—or at least, for part of the holiday season. When it comes to the surprisingly hot debate about whether to put your decorations up prior to November 11, I am stunned it's even a debate at all.
However, sometimes just because we can go on social media and debate things doesn't mean we should. The question of when to decorate has once again been raised by one of our local friendly neighborhood broadcasters, which means we should recognize that in reality, it shouldn't matter when we decorate for Christmas at all.
Remembrance Day is an observance that is very serious, and it needs to be taken seriously. However, the debate about when to put your Christmas decorations up and the insinuations that you don't respect veterans if you put decorations up prior to November 11 needs to stop.
Respect for our veterans definitely has a focal point in November 11, but honoring our veterans is something that should occur year-round, without question, and without any insinuations that people aren't being respectful by putting Christmas decorations up prior to November 11.