Well, this isn’t going to be a normal Memorial Day.
Of course, this hasn’t been a normal May. And April wasn’t a normal April. And March ... (You follow me).
Aside from a fairly soggy weather forecast, social distancing recommendations will act as a bit of a wet blanket on a lot of the usual traditions this year. Fewer people will want to travel a few hours away to visit loves ones just so they can all stay six feet away from each other.
In the Branson area, the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 913 will not be holding their annual Memorial Day Service at Ozarks Memorial Park Cemetery. That’s always a tremendous event that many will, understandably, miss, but I’m sure those same people all understand why it can’t take place.
That, of course, does not prevent individuals from visiting cemeteries on their own. As far as I know, cemeteries will not be closed to the public (at least I haven’t heard of any). Besides, all of us, in our own way, can honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for America. In much the same way that the Grinch could not steal Christmas, COVID-19 cannot steal Memorial Day.
One of more interesting aspects of this weekend is that, while Memorial Day is one of the more serious and contemplative of all holidays, it also serves at the kick-off to summer. That kick-off typically includes swimming, grilling, playing, and – I wouldn’t want to name any names here, but – alcohol consumption.
Decoration Day and Memorial Day developed at the perfect time to create a three-day weekend right after children get out of school and just as the weather becomes warm with predictable frequency. This, unfortunately, can create an atmosphere where it’s easy to overlook the meaning of the holiday. After all, it’s hard to be very reflective while you’re flipping burgers on a grill while wearing swim trunks. It often seems like Memorial Day is two different holidays that exist at the same time.
But it’s OK. It’s OK to get out and have fun. I’m not here to shame anyone for taking the time to unwind and enjoy themselves. I think this year, of all years, people need it. Besides, regardless of how individuals spend Memorial Day weekend, everyone of us knows we should appreciate the sacrifices of our nation’s fallen soldiers. Right?
Well, I have been accused of only seeing the best in people. I stubbornly believe everyone knows what Memorial Day is all about, whether they make the time for it or not.
If I’ve made you feel bad about your weekend plans, please don’t. I’m here to help.
There are many things one can do this weekend to honor Memorial Day.
It’s easy to get a flag, even a small one, and keep it displayed honorably.
Or one can visit a cemetery, as I’ve already said. One can visit a battlefield, too. Wilson’s Creek Battlefield near Springfield is an outstanding facility.
On Sunday night, several local stations will carry the annual National Memorial Day Concert. It is well-worth watching. To find an area station showing the concert, visit pbs.org/national-memorial-day-concert.
If nothing else, one can honor the National Moment of Remembrance. At 3 p.m. on Memorial Day, every American is asked to pause for just one minute to honor the fallen. It’s easy. It’s worth it. You’ll be glad you did.
There, you see? There is no reason to avoid honoring Memorial Day.
Now everyone have fun, and stay safe.