Record editorial: Pandemic nixed your plans for Memorial Day fun? That’s OK — the day is about something much deeper.
For most of us, it will not be the kind of Memorial Day we’re used to.
While Summit County has moved into the low-risk phase of the coronavirus pandemic response, allowing for gatherings of up to 50 people and loosening other restrictions, it seems most residents are likely to keep using extra caution in the coming weeks as they continue to adjust to our new reality.
That means that, rather than attending large backyard bashes, catching nine innings with a perspiring beer in hand or basking in late-spring sunshine on a packed beach, many residents will spend Memorial Day in a more subdued fashion, staying at home or perhaps partaking in only a small get-together.
And in truth, that’s just fine, given the holiday’s purpose.
Memorial Day has never been about barbecues or the joys of a long weekend or savoring the first taste of summer. Rather, it’s a day to honor the sacrifices of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have given their lives throughout our country’s history to forge, then protect, our freedoms.
The pandemic has wrought havoc in nearly every aspect of our lives. And it even has forced the cancellation of many of the large Memorial Day ceremonies that typically mark the day at cemeteries throughout the county.
But it has little effect on our individual ability to reflect on what it is to be American and the sacrifices our countrymen have made to ensure that label remains something to be proud of more than two centuries after 56 men put ink to parchment and declared this land an independent nation — even during a period of strife that is spurring self-reflection about our country’s identity.
Residents on Monday should find their own ways of remembering America’s fallen service members and considering the legacy they’ve left.
And next year, when everything has hopefully returned to relative normalcy and we can resume the traditions that have come to accompany the holiday, we would do well to keep its purpose in sight.
Memorial Day is not about grand plans or discovering how much fun we can pack into a three-day weekend. It is about something much more important.
With residents stuck inside their homes and the usual activities missing, this year’s may not be a Memorial Day to remember. But it will be, as always, one for remembering.
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