There are three holidays of note this week. The one that I got off from work is the least significant.
On the 14th, we had the holiday of Saint Valentine of Rome. According to legend Emperor Claudius the Cruel was afraid that solders who had families would be more devoted to their families than to their emperor, so forbade solders to marry. The priest Valentine did not accept Claudius’s jurisdiction over love and marriage, and as the story goes, married several couples in defiance of the Claudius’s edict.
The earliest recorded Valentine written was from, Charles, Duke of Orléans who is said to have written poems to his wife in France while a prisoner in the Tower of London, his words of love escaping his confinement.
Even if history cannot corroborate these stories, Valentine’s Day is a day where relaxed social rules allow extravagance in romance. We have permission to let romantic love take precedence over normal rules.
The second holiday was Elizabeth Peratrovich Day on the 16th. That’s the day where we celebrate her work, and the work of many within the ANB/ANS, in passing the Alaskan Anti-Discrimination Act of 1941. If you have not read the transcript of her testimony to the Alaskan Territorial Legislature, read it here. Her description of the three types of people who practice discrimination will be the most important thing you read today. When we celebrate her day, we are celebrating all of those who speak to power and authority with a moral clarity that cannot be ignored.
Which brings us to today, President’s Day. Today was the day that chosen as a compromise so we did not have to chose which great man’s birthday we should celebrate. We take their day off of work, and celebrate their contribution to history.
Presidents don’t make history any more than bankers build buildings or politicians launch ships.
People remembered in our history books stand in front of others who actually build and they take credit for the work of the builder. So my wish for you today is this… enjoy your day off but remember, when love overcomes convention, when moral clarity speaks to power, THEN is when we make history. And while there will always be a person at the front who gets the credit, it’s you and I who make it happen.