Monday, May 25 is Memorial Day.
This one will be different than any other.
There will few observances this year, including none in Mount Gilead which annually hosts a large gathering. Most communities here and across the country are foregoing parades and speeches due to the COVID-19 pandemic and various stay-at-home orders.
While this probably is the prudent course given the state of affairs in America, it is unfortunate.
Memorial Day, previously but now seldom called Decoration Day, is a federal holiday in the United States for honoring and mourning the military personnel who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
Many people will still visit cemeteries and memorials on that weekend to remember those who gave their lives in military service. Scores of volunteers will place American flags on graves from here to Washington, D.C. and in thousands of cities and villages.
But it won’t be the same this year.
The pandemic wiped that out.
No large gatherings at Rivercliff Cemetery and other places in Morrow County.
No vehicles decked out in red, white and blue.
But the deadly virus that stopped business and commerce for more than two months and sent children home from schools can’t wipe out the meaning of this holiday. In fact, this year more than ever as we debate freedoms and rights, we must observe Memorial Day.
We can do so quietly at home or by visiting a local cemetery while observing state and national “social distancing” mandates.
We can say a prayer for those loved ones or neighbors lost fighting for those freedoms. We can reflect on how fortunate we are in this country despite the present challenges of job losses and deaths.
The coronavirus may have stopped the large gatherings and the 21-gun salutes.
It has not and will not stop our spirit. And it has not and will not erase the memory of those who sacrificed for us.
All Gave Some, Some Gave All.
Lest We Forget.