Kamala Harris Under Fire For ‘Tone Deaf’ Memorial Day Tweet
Vice President Kamala Harris came under fire on Saturday when she tweeted a candid photo of herself looking to the side and smiling. The caption read simply: “Enjoy the long weekend.” But some Twitter users took offense to it.
Enjoy the long weekend. pic.twitter.com/ilGOrod4AW
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) May 29, 2021
They considered it tone-deaf and disrespectful because of her failure to mention the very reason for the long weekend and its significance: Memorial Day, a national holiday where many American families cannot “enjoy” the holiday.
In the spring of 1865, following the end of the Civil War, which claimed more American lives than any other conflict previous to it, it is believed that General John A. Logan lobbied for a nationwide day of remembrance. He was the leader of an organization for Northern Civil War Veterans, and he decided to call the then-yet-unofficial holiday as Decoration Day. The objective was to let families and friends decorate the graves of their loved ones who they lost in battle.
On the very first Decoration Day, about 5,000 people participated in decorating the graves of 20,000 Civil War soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery.
At that time, northern States continued to commemorate the fallen on Decoration Day, and by 1890, it was made an official state holiday.
Meanwhile, southern States memorialized the soldiers on separate days. It was only after World War I that most of America observed the holiday on May 30.
In 1971, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act that established Memorial Day to be on the last Monday of May. Part of the intention was also to give a three-day weekend for federal employees. In that same year, Memorial Day became a federal holiday.
Harris’ tweet was deemed cringe-worthy, and users on both sides acknowledged that.
For example, Paul Szoldra, a military and defense editor for Business Insider, tweeted in response: “Real misfire here.”
Real misfire here. It is a long weekend. It’s also Memorial Day weekend, which means far more that our government officials should acknowledge: a time to remember and honor the millions of Americans who lost their lives in our nation’s defense https://t.co/RCPwPf4TdL https://t.co/xKyyaOkkQA
— Paul Szoldra (@PaulSzoldra) May 29, 2021
Robby Starbuck, a music video director, wrote: “It’s a time to appreciate the brave soldiers and reflect on the LIFETIME their families spend without them.”
I know you think the "long weekend" is a chance to post a pic of yourself and get some mimosas as you plan to rip our country apart but it’s actually a time to appreciate the brave soldiers who died for our country & to reflect on the LIFETIME their families spend without them.
— Robby Starbuck (@robbystarbuck) May 29, 2021
Some of Harris’ admirers also did not appreciate her tweet. One of them wrote: “Please do better.” At the same time, her other supporters defended her by saying that she has done more for veterans and soldiers in the past six months than the Trump administration did in four years.
Harris eventually walked back on her tweet. On Monday, she tweeted what most expected her to do so in the first place. “We honor those members of our military who sacrificed their lives in order to defend our freedoms,” she wrote. “We owe these heroes – and their loved ones – everything. Not just on Memorial Day. Every day.”
We honor those members of our military who sacrificed their lives in order to defend our freedoms. We owe these heroes—and their loved ones—everything. Not just on Memorial Day. Every day. pic.twitter.com/bAbl6cxxw1
— Vice President Kamala Harris (@VP) May 31, 2021