We should remember that Memorial Day started off as Decoration Day. It originated on a small scale in the years after the Civil War. It was a day when America’s soldiers who were killed were specially remembered and their graves decorated to show respect and appreciation for their sacrifice.
Here we are at the start of the Memorial Day weekend. It’s sure to be a strange one, that’s for sure.
The name was later changed from Decoration Day to Memorial Day, much as Armistice Day morphed into Veterans Day. Americans like to celebrate its soldiers, both living and dead.
Memorial Day is often celebrated with a parade or other public display to mark the occasion. The entire weekend is special to us as it has served as the unofficial beginning of summer. Barbecues are prepared, guests are invited, beach passes are obtained, and frisbees and baseballs are tossed and caught.
It’s a great time to be an American.
This year, of course, under the pall of the coronavirus, Memorial Day may actually be more memorable than ever before, because none of those things will be happening.
You might have a barbecue, but it is doubtful that guests will be coming over.
You may be able to obtain a beach pass while practicing sufficient social distancing but will you chance it by going to the beach?
I won’t be tossing a baseball or frisbee as my three children cannot fly to Florida and I cannot fly to New York.
Quite honestly, I was scheduled to celebrate Memorial Day by flying home from London but the flight there never happened.
Still, Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer. That used to be such a big thing for me before I retired and moved to Florida. Nothing like looking forward to summer heat after a series of nor’easters and a spring that never broke seventy degrees. Now, however, summer doesn’t offer a break at all. What I now have to look forward to is a string of ninety degree days…one hundred and ten probably.
Winter can’t come soon enough.
Nevertheless, I do look forward to summer.
It’s a time to dust off my summer play list.
It’s a time to put a reading list together consisting of books I already read as a young college student.
There are also movies to be viewed, if Netflix has any left that I have not seen recently.
Summer also promises to be a time of hope.
We hope that the worst of the coronavirus is behind us.
We hope that we can once again visit with family and friends in the flesh and not as an avatar.
We hope that our country remembers what Memorial Day is supposed to be about and it is more than fitting to remember that Decoration Day was created as a tribute after the Civil War to honor ALL of America’s dead.
We hope that we will once be able to translate e pluribus unum and to inscribe that on our hearts.
God Bless America.