Mar 11, 2008

Time to go green

by Will Mayer

I bet you never thought you would see a headline saying it was time to go green followed by my byline. When it comes to the idea of carbon trading, global warming and dwindling polar bear populations, I have been as cynical as a conspiracy theorist who believes we never landed on the moon (which we did not).
However, as the calendar moves forward, it becomes clear that we will need to go green — soon. March 17, to be exact. For those who do not recognize the date, that is St. Patrick’s Day, the greenest of all holidays.
My wife, who has the maiden name of Shaughnessy, is about the most proud a person can be of her Irish heritage, so I am forced to put my green prejudice aside and drink a bit of green punch, wear a green shirt and maybe even dine on a breakfast of green eggs and ham (I do not like green eggs and ham).
I am glad she is proud to celebrate her heritage. A person’s heritage was something that I grew up being told was important. That idea was cemented in my mind when I moved from New York to Virginia at the age of 12.
I could not understand why, when I asked people about their heritage, I was either answered with a simple “American” or was granted the same blank stare I was afforded when I commented that college sports were not a big deal where I came from.
Now, I am proud to be an American. I am proud of our country’s success over the last 200 years, of our Christian foundations, of our brave military and our nearly unrivaled freedoms. But I am also proud to be German, Italian and Norwegian. I am proud of the sacrifices my grandparents made to come to America and of my ancestors’ rich history.
There might not be a holiday where Norwegians can celebrate with a figure as memorable as a leprechaun (though I would love to see a leprechaun with a horned Viking helmet), but people of any heritage have things to be proud of and to celebrate.
You do not have to wait for February to come around again to celebrate Black History Month or the Chinese New Year to dawn to remember the rich history of your Chinese ancestors.
So I will take the phrase “go green” and the gusto with which the Irish celebrate their holiday as a personal challenge to continue to celebrate my own heritage, in my own ways.
And to celebrate being an American, maybe I’ll fake a moon-landing.

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