Name That Holiday tTC


January 02, 1992|By BEN WATTENBERG

WASHINGTON — Washington. - We do not have a winner, not yet, but -- Wow! -- do we have an idea!

In this space, in early December, a contest was born: To create a new holiday, preferably global, to celebrate the end of the Cold War. Readers were asked to submit a name, a date, a ritual and an essay.

The response was robust, and mail is still arriving with wonderful, wild and often touching thoughts.

Now the Soviet Union is history. Gorbachev is rolling over his IRA. There are new nations. We need an interim report and further plans.

Consider some entries: I love ''Defrost Day,'' submitted by Lea Burkhard, of Howell, N.J., who also recommends that we drink ''Bloody Marishkas.'' Cathi Monks, Topeka, Kan., suggests ''Thaw Day.'' Both Craig Howard, Brea, Calif., and Stuart Brynien, Brooklyn, N.Y., offer ''Borscht Day.''

Personalities: Elaine Leuci, Amityville, N.Y., and Joe Herman, New York, N.Y., suggest ''Ronald Reagan Day,'' while Mildred Hudson, Orange, Texas, offers ''Gipper Goals Day.'' Dr. Archimedes Concon, Memphis, Tenn., picks ''Gorbachev Day.'' James Neuman, Sidney, Neb., picks ''Kerensky Future Freedom Day'' (Boris Yeltsin is not the first elected Russian president).

''Peace Through Strength Day'' (Robert Dick, Somerville, N.J.) has the process right, and his date, March Fourth, is an English military command.

Chuck Foster, Valley Stream, N.Y., suggests ''E Day'' for ''Evil Empire Ends.'' Then there is ''E2D2''; you know, ''Evil Empire Death Day,'' (James Murphy, Ridgecrest, Calif.). How about ''Sans Soviet Day'' (John Sullivan, Denville, N.J.)? And Robert Taylor, Timonium, Md., offers ''Brumaire Day,'' the 18th of Brumaire, November 9, when Napoleon couped the Republic, reminding us to be ever vigilant.

Scores of respondents offered ''Liberty Day,'' ''Democracy Day,'' ''Freedom Day.'' Several suggested ''Wall Day.'' Many proposed November 9, when the Berlin Wall fell.

I like ''Jericho Day'' (Al Villano, Bronx, N.Y.). An American trumpet and a Western orchestra blew away the Iron Curtain just as surely as Joshua's ram's horn toppled Jericho's walls.

For a date: Perhaps June 5, Adam Smith's birthday (1723). He knew early that prosperity and freedom are linked (Gerald Schneider, Kensington, Md.). August is a holiday-less month, notes Bob Shuler, Arlington, Va.; others picked August to memorialize the failed Soviet coup.

How should we celebrate? Tom Gill, North Beach, Md., says everyone, everywhere, should clap hands, eliminating the language barrier. Saradell Crawford, San Antonio, Texas, suggests prayer. David Singer, New York, N.Y., says write a caustic letter to the editor, celebrate religion, travel across a border, make a public speech, or see a dirty movie -- impossible acts in an unfree country.

Lots of folks said: No gloating; we're not perfect; welcome immigrants; celebrate in Spring; meditate; go global; thank God for peace.

Jennie Pitkus, Tunkhannock, Pa., says eat potatoes, the universal food, and pray for the Chinese. Karl Landstrom, Arlington, Va., says burn a red commie flag and hoist a white one for peace. Doug Weiskopf, Panorama City, Calif., says send money to feed Russians. Edward Aboufadel, New Brunswick, N.J., is into ice sculptures, of rockets, presidents, hammers and sickles. Capt. Richard McKinney of Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, says build a sibling to the Statue of Liberty. Beth Crawford, Anchorage, Alaska, proposes a U.N.-sponsored stamp.

Edward Wynne, University of Illinois, Chicago, proposes an awesome monument at the ''V'' where the rivers meet at Harper's Ferry, W.Va. An activist, Mr. Wynne has already drafted congressional legislation.

Keith Pepys, Buena Park, Calif., expressed what many respondents felt. He recalls the complacency while we lived hair-triggered to a nuclear holocaust, and says, ''the whole world can breathe easy after holding its breath for 50 years.''

Let's keep the ball rolling. The contest is open until January 31. Respondents may suggest new names and/or dates and rituals, or endorse ideas listed above. No essays necessary. Enclose a clipping of this column identifying the publishing newspaper. Send to: Ben Wattenberg, c/o Baltimore Sun, or c/o Newspaper Enterprise Association, 200 Park Ave. New York, N.Y. 10166.

Eventually, the best entries will be forwarded to Congress and the president for action. Let's make it happen. That's how it works in a democracy.

Ben Wattenberg, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, is author of ''The First Universal Nation.''

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