Sundays

When I was a child, life came to a standstill on Sundays. The churches were open but everything else was closed. It was a day of worship and a day of rest. When I got to Vietnam starting in 1962, I found an entirely different world. Sunday was just another day of the week, and life went on as usual, with markets and retail stores open for business. That was because only about a quarter of Vietnamese were religious, less than ten percent Christian.

In the years since I left Vietnam for the last time in 1975, Sundays in the U.S. have come to resemble those in Vietnam. Retail enterprises are now routinely open for business on Sunday. And we have become much less religious than we used to be. Only about two-thirds of Americans and less than half of our millennials identify as Christians. Over the past decade, the number of those who classify themselves as belonging to no religion has grown by thirty million.

For all that, Sundays remain special days for me. What sets the day apart is what I listen to on the radio. My radio is nearly always on set to the local National Public Radio station which is news all day. But on Sunday, most of my regular programs are replaced with special weekly programs that emphasize a single aspect of the news.

So our world is changing, but some of us hang onto old ways of seeing. I guess that describes me.

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