Memorial Day Weekend in Times of Social Distancing

by eco18


This year’s Memorial Day weekend will be celebrated like no other we know. With social distancing in mind as a preventive measure to combat the spread of COVID-19, many people will be looking for options to observe the occasion, which gives us an opportunity to reflect on those who died in active military service. Experiencing this pandemic that has kept us on hold for months, makes even more relevant the time to look with admiration and respect at those who serve. At Eco18 we will surely use these days to honor our veterans during this meaningful weekend. Here’re some of the ways we will be celebrating.

Sue:  The equivalent to Memorial Day in England is Remembrance Day, which is celebrated in November. It’s a more somber, reserved day of remembrance, very different from the US where Memorial Day has taken on the role as the unofficial day of summer. I must admit I have mixed feelings about the way Memorial Day is celebrated here, it seems that much of the sentiment is lost in the rush to herald in summer. However, maybe this year, we will be more thoughtful about the meaning of the day.

This global pandemic has changed all our lives, but if we can come out of it all with a deeper appreciation for everything that those who serve have done for us, if can see what happens when we isolate and let nature repair the damage we have caused our planet, then it is a cause for celebration. 

So, not to be a hypocrite, because I will be celebrating with close friends, albeit over zoom, rather than having my usual get together on my deck up in the mountains. But will be thankful for being safe and well and remembering those who keep us that way.

Rachel: Usually on Memorial Day, my friends and I throw a huge barbecue in Riverbank State Park in Harlem to kick off the summer season of barbecues in the park, outdoor activities, and to officially welcome in the first days of summer together. While we can’t throw our barbecue together, we will be reenacting the barbecue on Zoom. Those of us who usually bring our side dishes will make our own home-cooked meals, and we’ll all enjoy each other’s company (preferably outside) via our smartphones. The longer the stay at home orders last in epicenters like New York, the harder it gets when holidays come around. However, by taking steps to protect each other now, my friends and I are ensuring that everyone in the group is safe and healthy in these trying times.

Sara: For me, Memorial Day has always been accompanied with big outdoor barbeques filled with family and friends, block parties and, if it’s warm enough, swimming! This year will obviously prove to be very different, as we are faced with a new obstacle – how do we go about holiday celebrations while social distancing to stop the spread of COVID-19? As I quarantine in my childhood home throughout this pandemic, my parents and I plan to grill up some hamburgers and hot dogs, play some music, and hang out in our backyard, and we’ll most likely end up in an overly competitive game of cornhole. While it will certainly be less eventful than past Memorial Days, we’ll definitely make the most of it and hope for a bigger celebration next year!

Giselle: Since we are now in a transition to slowly get back to some of the activities placed on hold for the last two months, I will be spending time with my “quarantine bubble” (my husband, mom, and brother) in our house upstate. This will also serve as a prolonged celebration of my birthday, which usually falls on this weekend. To stay safe and keep our social distancing, we will enjoy the weather and nature around the house. Although we still have to decide the menu, we will cook our meals, take pictures, zoom with other family members, and just try to enjoy and make the best of the situation. 

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