How will our “new normal” affect your Memorial Day plans in 2020?
Memorial Day is a national holiday recognized by Americans as a day of remembrance for all the fallen soldiers that have given their lives to protect our freedoms. Memorial Day is typically commemorated by parades, family gatherings, and cook-outs across our nation.
The origin of this day dates to the Civil War. So many lives were lost in the Civil War that the first national cemeteries were created. On May 5th, 1868, General John A. Logan declared “Decoration Day” to be held on May 30th for Americans to place flags and flowers on the graves of soldiers killed in the Civil War. He chose May 30th as a day unassociated with the anniversary of any battle during the Civil War. It is also a day when the flowers are in full bloom across the country.
General James Garfield gave a speech on the first Decoration Day in 1868 at Arlington National Cemetery. There were 5,000 people in attendance that placed flowers and flags on 20,000 graves of Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.
In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act which designated Memorial Day as a National Holiday and allowed federal employees a three-day weekend. This act established the last Monday in May as the official day of Memorial Day.
On this three-day weekend, the unofficial start of summer, most Americans attend parades, have family gatherings, parties, and BBQs on Memorial Day.
However, this year is like no other in the history of our country. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic with social restrictions in place in every state, there is a “new normal” we must all adjust to. As many states are lifting the strict stay-at-home orders, many people are anxious from the months of confinement, but we still need to heed on the side of caution.
How will you spend your Memorial Day this year?
Here are a few suggestions to consider for Memorial Day:
- Avoid large gatherings.
- Spend a day at the beach or a park with your immediate family, practicing social distancing from others.
- If you plan to cook out with family and friends, make sure it is less than 10 people and no one attending feels ill.
- At 3:00pm on Monday, take a moment of silence in remembrance of the fallen soldiers that gave their lives for our freedoms.
It is a new era in our history. We, as Americans, have been through tough times before. We will continue to recognize holidays significant to our traditions, and we will adjust accordingly to uphold those values in the most safe and memorable ways possible. We will adjust and prevail.