Today is the holiday that is no longer celebrated nationally; Evacuation Day, November 25th. This holiday commemorates the evacuation of the British fighting forces from New York City in 1783, after they occupied it for seven years. It stopped being celebrated during World War One, when Britian was our ally during the war.
But the country continued to celebrate the Fourth of July. I love the Fourth of July. It commemorates our winning the war of independence for our country, but really the Fourth commemorates the start of the war, not the end. We celebrate that holiday as though it truly is the liberation rather than the start of a long struggle towards liberation.
Still I’ve enjoyed that holiday since I was very small. My brothers and I would get cap guns and spend days of enjoying our guns until all the caps have been fired off. We loved sparklers and being able to run around with them lit. Back then adults let children hold them and run around, on the dirt road, not on grass. I never got burned or knew someone who had, so it seemed perfectly safe to me.
I wish that we still celebrated Evacuation Day. I plan on continuing to celebrate it each year. For me it has come to represent each new little healing step, each moment of peace and love, each thought that I was more and better than everything I was taught to believe about myself by abusers, each time the enemies lose a little more of a grip on my body, and soul, and mind.
It’s amazing how long and strong an occupation can be and how long-lasting the damage can be. We don’t talk about the damage that an occupying army caused back then. But it is often enough on the news in the present day that I suppose we can all imagine. Certainly enough to imagine similarities between an occupying army, a weather catastrophe, and surviving childhood sexual abuse. Today I celebrate and I honor us all.
Happy Evacuation Day.