I originally published this post at a former group blog, The Closet Moderate, in 2013. I think it still holds up.
Summer is the best part of the year, to my mind, and August is one fine month. There’s just one thing missing: a holiday. The summer, for the non-astronomers among us, is bookended by two holidays: Memorial Day and Labor Day. Between them, we have the glorious Fourth of July. All good days. Good times to leave work for a long weekend at the shore, the lake, the mountains, or wherever you go. Good days to wave the flag, eat hot dogs, and blow something up.
But look at August: nary a holiday to be seen. For the non-teachers among us, that means working all week long, which in high summer seems damned intolerable. This is the twenty-first century, for Pete’s sake. We spend the twentieth increasing our productivity to a fair-thee-well. Now’s the time to decrease it. George Jetson worked a two-hour week. Surely, with all our computers and labor-saving devices, we can afford to lose eight hours one in the month.
So: V-J day. Or Victory over Japan Day, to be formal. The end of the bloodiest war, the most just war, the last total war America ever fought. When the Japanese surrendered (August 15 their time, August 14 our time) the world was at peace for the first time in a sanguineous decade. So, the holiday has something for everyone. For the bellicose, it represents the triumph of American arms over our the most powerful, most wicked enemies we ever faced. For the pacific, it represents a rebirth of peace, and a new beginning of freedom for the liberated nations (except the ones the Soviets occupied, but never mind that). We could even leave off the “Japan” bit and call it Victory Day. Or Peace Day. Or Armistice Day, since the old Armistice Day has been swallowed up by Veterans Day in this country. It would fit in with the patriotic season so well, you wouldn’t even need to change the red-white-and-blue bunting.