This Memorial Day weekend, many people will be attempting to experience as much normalcy as possible as they fire up the grill or venture out to the beach. This is to be expected. The weather is becoming warmer and communities around the globe are gradually reducing COVID-19 restrictions. Yet, this doesn’t change the fact that the year 2020 has upon it a new normal with new and unanticipated public health policies to be followed daily. Everyone around the world is being instructed to proceed in a safe, social-distancing manner, no matter the venue or occasion. This includes any commemorating event that has customarily occur in time-honored gatherings.
Tomorrow, we’ll observe a time-honored, federal holiday of the United States that commemorates the men and women of the military who died during their service to the country.
The holiday usually includes parades in many towns and cities from coast to coast. There are usually music events held around the country as a celebratory remembrance, including the National Memorial Day Concert held on the eve of Memorial Day on the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol (a streaming-only event tonight, at 8:00 p.m. EST, on Public Television and National Public Radio). Many individuals, including civilians, veterans, and those currently serving in the military, usually choose to spend the holiday visiting the graves of veterans who died in service.
Instead of our traditional gatherings, many will be celebrating from “a distance.” And the now-ubiquitous, virtual world of Zoom, among other video conferencing platforms, will likely serve as the gathering ground for group events. While this is intended as a public health practice during the pandemic, it doesn’t minimize our honor and respect for our lost servicemen and servicewomen. I believe, in fact, the robustness that comes from in-person events will be equally achieved when many come together on Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, or whatever platform is used to partake in this annual tradition.
Let’s always honor and remember these fallen heroes, whether in person or virtually, and the sacrifices they made in the name of democracy and freedom.
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