Memorial Day is normally about barbecues, getting together and remembering those who gave their lives to protect the freedoms that Americans hold dear.
But as we all know, this is not the normal Memorial Day.
I feel like today is more poignant and emotionally heavy than previous Memorial Day. Covid-19 has taken the lives of nearly 100,000 Americans, some who are serving or have served in the military. It reminds us of the risk that these men and women take on, not knowing what fate has in store for them.
May the memories of those gave their lives for this country over the centuries never be forgotten.
New York City is known as the city that never sleeps. There is always something to do or see, regardless of the time of day or night it is.
That is, until Covid-19 struck.
Yesterday, there was an editorial in the New York Post declaring that it was time to re-open the city.
In theory, I agree with the writer. Stores and businesses with the exception of those that are considered necessary are for all intents and purposes closed. Millions are out of work and relying on unemployment to get by. Schools are closed, forcing students and their parents to learn virtually. The number of New Yorkers who are now going to food banks and charities to ensure that they can feed themselves and their families have gone up exponentially.
But in reality, I don’t quite agree with him. As of earlier this afternoon, there are nearly 194,000 cases in the city with over 50,000 hospitalized. More than 20,000 New Yorkers have died. My concern is that if we re-open too soon, we are opening the door to a second wave of Covid-19 and erasing the gains that have been made in stopping the disease.
Like all of you, I am more than ready to re-enter the world. I am ready to go back to the office, to go to the beach, meets my friends for a drink, etc. Especially with summer unofficially starting this weekend with Memorial Day. But there is also a risk of getting sick or getting someone else sick. I’m not sure that is a risk I am ready or willing to take at this moment.
There are two views on Memorial Day. The first view is that it is seen as the first day of summer, when many of us go to the pool, go to the beach, barbecue or just enjoy what will hopefully be a nice day. The second view is that today we remember those who put their lives on the line for this country, especially those who did not come home.
My first thought today is to think of the men in my family who fought in World War II: my grandfathers (of blessed memory) and my late maternal grandmother’s two brothers. Her eldest brother (also of blessed memory) passed away decades ago. Her younger brother is still alive and is very proud of the time he spent serving his country.
When we think of war, we think of the men on the battle field and the women who stayed home to take care of the family. But this was not completely accurate during World War II. Approximately 350,000 American women served their country both at home and abroad.
Last year, I visited Washington D.C. with a friend. The World War II Memorial is both overwhelming and powerful. It is the perfect reminder of the sacrifice of those who put country before their own needs. Among the various parts of the memorial, the quote recognizing the women who fought for their country is nothing short of awe-inspiring.
May the memory of those who gave their lives for this country forever be a blessing to us all. May we never forget their sacrifice and may we always be grateful for the freedoms that they died protecting.
It’s easy to forget the sacrifices of past generations. We go about our daily routines as if it has always been that way.
But the reality is that generations of Americans have fought and died for the daily routines that many of us think as commonplace.
Today is not just a day off from work and school. It is also a solemn reminder of the soldiers across the generations who have fought and died for the freedoms that we take for granted.
To the men and women fighting for not just our freedom, but for the freedom of those who don’t know what freedom feels like, thank you from the bottom of my heart. To those men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice, you will never be forgotten.
G-d bless the USA and those who put their lives on the line so we could live another day.