The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024
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Show your love this Casimir Pulaski Day

Fans of random holidays take note: now that March is upon us a very special and underappreciated day of celebration is fast approaching. Casimir Pulaski Day is a holiday observed in Illinois that honors a Polish cavalry officer who fought in the American Revolutionary War. The day is traditionally celebrated on the first Monday of March, which means this year it will fall on the 5th of the month.

Recently, Casimir Pulaski Day has found significance outside of small Polish communities in Chicago, in part thanks to the eponymous song written by folk singer Sufjan Stevens. Growing up I recall being a huge fan of Stevens’ music (and I was even fortunate enough to see him perform here at SMU a couple of years ago), and I especially loved the song “Casimir Pulaski Day.” In fact, I was so inspired that I wanted to take up the banjo so I could learn how to play the song as beautifully as Stevens did.

I’ve been musically inclined since early childhood, and in high school there was nothing I enjoyed more than learning how to play a new instrument. So, I thought a banjo would be the perfect thing to ask of my parents for my birthday when I was turning 17. However, that year was particularly difficult for my parents: my father had just lost his job and financial concerns were playing a much bigger role in my family life than they ever had previously. I decided that a banjo would have been a particularly frivolous gift to request when we weren’t even certain how we’d pay to send me to college.

My high school friends knew about how much I wanted this banjo and how I’d decided against trying to get one. Rather than say anything to me directly, they waited until we were at an end-of-the-school-year party to let me know that they had all chipped in some funds, found a banjo at a garage sale, and called a professional to restore it so they could give it to me as a belated birthday present.

I was at a loss for words. I couldn’t believe my friends would take it upon themselves to do something so thoughtful for me. I graciously accepted that banjo and spent the next few years becoming proficient at it. Now I actually can play Casimir Pulaski Day (albeit not particularly well, but we can’t go asking too much).

I always particularly enjoy when this holiday comes around because I get a chance to reflect upon how fortunate I am to have such loving and compassionate friends in my life. However, I don’t think we necessarily have to wait for obscure Illinois holidays to take the time to appreciate those we love. If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my brief existence as a human being, it’s that one ought never to be afraid of showing others how much they matter. For college students, especially, it can become all too easy to get bogged down in the minutia of daily life: tests, papers, projects, clubs, events. We’re constantly on the move, and finding the time for those we love can be difficult.

However, I think we have a duty to acknowledge how loved we really are and to reciprocate that sort of compassion whenever we get the chance. So this Monday (and every other day, I suppose), I encourage you to explicitly tell someone how much he or she means to you. You’ll find that the small actions like that will pay huge dividends in he future.

Brandon is a sophomore majoring in English. 

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