A Christmas Tree, Not A 'Holiday Tree'
First and foremost, I would like to sincerely congratulate the people of Bay Ridge and State Senator Marty Golden for standing up for their rights and protecting their freedoms. I just read an article on page 8 of the November 20, 2007 issue of the Daily News titled, "Fir- get that 'Holiday' - 'Christmas' Tree Back." I was so pleased to read, "After demoting its evergreen to just a 'Holiday Tree' a year ago, Bay Ridge will let a 17-foot Brooklyn evergreen regain the lofty title after snowballing criticism."
You may recall that last year I wrote a letter criticizing The Wave for advertising for weeks that the Rockaway Chamber of Commerce would be hosting the "Holiday Tree" lighting on Beach 116 Street. Let's be honest. The tall evergreen tree with a star or angel on top, dressed in lights, garland and ornaments with presents underneath represents no other holiday than Christmas. Why would we not call it as such, you ask? I'll tell you. Because we are slowly giving up our rights and freedoms guaranteed to us in our Constitution. Yes, the Constitution gives us these rights, it doesn't prohibit them. Freedom of religion was given to us so that the state couldn't force us to abide by the rules and laws of one specific religion. It gave us the freedom to practice and celebrate any religion anywhere we choose. Now we are subtly being told we can't. Christmas has been gradually being taken away from the Christians over the last few years, and I have noticed. Even right here in a strong, Irish-Catholic community.
There is this make-believe notion that we are violating someone else's rights by the mere mention of the word Christmas - an idea that people would be offended and emotionally scarred by seeing another group of people celebrating their religion. What's worse is that we are catering to this nonsense and allowing it. Stores that sell Christmas decorations won't even advertise them as such. Look around the next time you are in a big chain store such as Lowe's or BJ's. You will see an entire aisle of Santas, reindeer, wreaths, stockings, angels, etc. and the sign will say "holiday decorations." Needless to say, I would never purchase my Christmas decorations from such a place.
While this all may seem trivial to some, I hope others recognize this for what it is. I hope I am not the only person in Rockaway who thinks that we should be allowed to call our Christmas tree a Christmas tree. I also think we should call a Chanukah Menorah a Chanukah Menorah and not a holiday candle. That's what it is, and we have every right to say it. I adamantly implore any and all residents of Rockaway who agree, to let it be known - to either The Wave, the Chamber of Commerce, or whomever you see fit - we want our Christmas tree back. Please, let's reclaim Christmas just as the good people of Bay Ridge were able to. Thank you, and everyone have a Happy Thanksgiving . . . or am I not allowed to say that anymore, either?