A c. 1881–1885 photograph of the Oglala Lakota chief Low Dog, who was reported to have first used the phrase “this is a good day to die” in 1881
The phrase is frequently attributed to the Oglala Lakota war leader Crazy Horse (c. 1842 – 1877), though this is inaccurate as the earliest published reference, in the 14 August 1881 edition of the Leavenworth Times, attributes it to the Oglala Lakota chief Low Dog (c. 1846 – 1894).
Junkies brag about the "rush" of mainlined heroin or inhaled crack cocaine; I'll put the rush of danger up against any drug. I wasn't kidding when I told Bouton it was a good day to die. Any day is a good day to die. As long as you go down fighting.]
Otherwise, small business owners like those in the construction industry will have to be prescient, as well as politically and financially astute, in deciding if today is a good day to die.
An expression indicating that one should not live with any regrets, or tasks left undone.
[2002, Dave Collins, “Gains”, in Please Remain Seated until the Ride has Come to a Complete Stop: Dave Collins Memoir, Lincoln, Neb.: Writer's Showcase, iUniverse, →ISBN, pages 86–87:
To be given the strength to live without regrets, without the feeling that you should be doing something more, something different. To make today a good day to die. To gain fulfillment not with length of time, but with quality.]
2006, Dan Millman, “On Chapter Four: The Sword is Sharpened”, in Wisdom of the Peaceful Warrior: A Companion to the Book that Changes Lives, Tilburon, Calif.: H. J. Kramer; Novato, Calif.: New World Library, →ISBN, page 111:
The main thing is to die after having truly lived, after leaving behind a contribution. Socrates lived fully and was perfectly content to let go when the time came. As the Native American saying goes, "Today is a good day to die."
In the native tradition of the Pacific Northwest there is a saying: "Today is a good day to die." What it means, of course, is that today is a good day to live completely. If you were lying on that hospital bed right now, what would be on that short list?
^ See, for example, Kenneth Paul Kramer (1988) , “American Indian Attitudes towards Death”, in The Sacred Art of Dying: How World Religions Understand Death, Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist Press, →ISBN, page 169: “One of the best known death songs was sung by the Sioux warrior Chief Crazy Horse just before he entered into battle: / Hoka hey! Follow me / Today is a good day to fight / Today is a good day to die.”
^ The phrase appeared in an interview with Low Dog which was in a newspaper despatch sent from Fort Yates, North Dakota, USA, on 30 July 1881 and published in the Leavenworth Times two weeks later: see Richard G. Hardorff, editor , quoting Low Dog (2003) , “The Low Dog Interview”, in Indian Views of the Custer Fight: A Sourcebook, Norman, Okla.: University of Oklahoma Press, →ISBN, pages 63 and 65: “We retreated until our men got all together, and then we charged upon them. I called to my men, ‘This is a good day to die: follow me.’”