Extract from the diary of Abigail Keeva-Remy, aged 14:
December is just no fun at all, except at the end. In December, as observant USAians we fast and freeze in memory of Valley Forge, when the USAian cause seemed dead before birth.
I imagine it’s very difficult for my friends who are observant Christians to prepare for joy and fast and freeze. Though they tell me it’s also a penitential time, of preparing your soul to receive the redeemer. I wouldn’t know. Dad says that my grandparent’s religion is revolution. I’m not sure what he means by that, but he doesn’t seem pleased by it. And Christianity was forbidden so long they retain an habit of secrecy, so it’s hard to make them explain fully.
Oh, and I’m very glad my family is not that observant, so we’re not required to wear summer clothes for two weeks, even if it’s a blizzard out. But the temperature controls in the house never go above sixty, no matter what.
Till Christmas. On Christmas morning, while the newly legalized Christian faithful open gifts, and light up their trees, we light up our tree and houses too. Only our tree is an oak, the same we use for the high holy holidays in July, with red paper on the base to symbolize blood.
And then we eat gingerbread men shaped like hessian soldiers. You always bite their heads first. And you wish each other liberty and joy.
But in January, there’s another somber holiday, the last one in the string. My friends tell me for Christians it’s epiphany, and that it’s even harder to celebrate with the USAian holiday, because it’s the feast of G-d made manifest in the world.
I’d say ours is the feast of G-d working in the world through people, also. People who never give up, and keep fighting for what’s right.
Dad says it’s the anniversary of the Glorious Sixth. It wasn’t the end. It wasn’t even the beginning of the end. But it was people standing up for USAian ideals against one of the more serious attempts to destroy the Republic.
I don’t understand all the history yet. I probably will, someday. But dad says that we learn the history in the ritual, so it becomes part of us.
So on the sixth, we remember those who died or were unjustly imprisoned on sixth. Then we remember all those who died for Usaian ideals.
Of course, it’s impossible to remember them all. Some we never knew the name of, or it was lost in the turmoils. But we remember those we knew, and those in our own family.
We light a candle for each of those who purchased our ultimate freedom with their lives and share stories of our absent companions who fell in the dark years.
And eat apple pie salted with our tears by the light of those candles.