Out of curiosity, I typed Memorial Day into Google this morning. Truthfully, I had no idea what kind of listings Google would return. I do know that Google, Yahoo, MSN and the other search engines often return insights along with listings. Insights into what America, and the world is thinking, buying, trending towards, embracing, and is curious about or enamored with. Google is pretty much the who, what, where, when, and why of our world today!
What I found was heartening, sobering, reflective, and – in a strange sort of way – happy.
What I found was the kind of listings for a Memorial Day search that you would like to find. Wikipedia was there, of course. News and books about Memorial Day. There was also listings for websites that discuss the origins of Memorial Day, the history of Memorial Day, and even one about War Memorials in the U.S.
What wasn’t there was also surprising and comforting. Almost no Google Pay-per-click paid advertising. Only one listing, for GlobalGiving a grass roots charitable website providing access to 450 different charities. Not a single ad for travel, food, hotels, events, automobile rentals, shopping, or even hot dogs.
No credit to Google, as good as they are. The credit goes to America and Americans. An optimist would say that the results are the result of our apparent refusal to corrupt one meaningful and special holiday, honoring our American heroes. A cynic would say that no one except the travel and hosptitality industry, and perhaps the hot dog manufacturers, have yet found a way to capitalize on this last, great, unadulterated American celebration.
Thank you Google for restoring my faith in what may be America’s most important day of the year.