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Google still hates Memorial Day


The very first Google doodle logo (a modification of the Google logo in honor of a date in history) was posted August 30, 1998, in honor of the Burning Man Festival, an annual convergence of artist-types in the Black Rock Desert north of Reno, Nevada. That pretty much sums up where Google’s sympathies lie, as an organization, because that’s the kind of people they are.

Since then, Google has put up hundreds of doodles, usually in honor of some artist no one has heard of. Sometimes they honor scientific achievements. Some of their doodles are interactive, and obviously have taken Google’s staff of graphic artists a lot of time to build.

But until 2009, Google steadfastly refused to display a Memorial Day logo. Their standard answer was that the holiday was too reverent to, basically, insult with the standard lighthearted doodle-style logo. The implication is that Google artists are incapable of drawing heartfelt, reverent logos, especially concerning a major holiday in the country where Google was founded. Even left-wing media outlets took note of Google’s intransigence.

A continuous campaign of Internet harassment from US citizens finally forced Google to acknowledge that Memorial Day existed in 2009. They acknowledged it with a small yellow ribbon below the standard Google logo. Yippee skip.

That’s basically all Google does, every Memorial Day. This year’s logo is little different.

But Memorial Day is an American holiday which isn’t relevant to the rest of the planet, Google’s defenders say, so Google shouldn’t put up a logo at all. I would argue that most of the planet owes its current historical timeline to the sacrifices of American soldiers in the past hundred years. And Google maintains country-specific sites for many locales on this planet. It’s not hard to limit the Memorial Day logo to viewers in the United States, to avoid annoying/offending/educating viewers outside the United States. So “Memorial Day isn’t relevant to other countries” is not a valid argument.

Switching tacks, Google’s defenders then claim that Memorial Day celebrants will never be happy with whatever logo Google does put up. I disagree. I think Google’s current lackluster effort is dismissive and disrespectful, compared to the massive effort they put into other logos for frivolous holidays and remembrances. For a global company with massive resources at their disposal, they could put a little more “reverence” into it, since Google mentioned “reverence” themselves in their efforts to ignore the holiday in years past. Here’s a big list of Google doodles that others have done for Memorial Day, showing Google that you don’t have to have a staff of “professional” graphic artists to display proper reverence for the sacrifice of America’s soldiers. I like the helmet-rifle-boots logo, myself.

Every time Google puts up a tiny yellow ribbon for Memorial Day, instead of drawing an actual doodle, it’s a finger in the eye of patriotic Americans. I don’t understand why Google would consistently go out of its way to belittle such an important American holiday, unless it truly disrespects America and the sacrifices of its military men and women. And since the simplest explanation is usually the right one, the answer is obvious. Google still hates Memorial Day.

Well, I don’t. America’s soldiers are among the bravest on this planet. There’s very little they can’t do. They’ll fight when and where they’re told, and they’ll even fight for things they don’t believe in, but they’ll fight twice as hard for things they do believe in, like freedom and courage and brotherhood and defending the defenseless. The current timeline would look very different without America’s brave soldiers and their efforts to shape it. One day a year isn’t enough to commemorate their valiant efforts.

Thank you, America’s brave soldiers.

One Comment
  1. 2012-05-29T13:45:33-04:00 13:45

    don’t forget the sailors, airmen, marines..we all kinda liked being called by these names :) there is something very special at 10 pm when they play taps and that sound goes right into your heart, and Memorial Day is a time to pass on some of that feeling to civilians. I’m sure that if google would just ask some veterans to help them find a proper way to express Memorial Day, they could come up with the right design.


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