Memorial Day will be quieter this year. No bands. No crowds. No speeches. In usual times, Memorial Day feels like a three-day weekend, but these are surely anything but usual times. But perhaps this intentional pause this year, gives us time and space to actually reflect on the real meaning of Memorial Day.
Our current ordeal is difficult. Many who have lost jobs are suffering. Over 95,000 people in the US have been killed by this virus; their families forever impacted. We are asked to set aside some of our personal freedom, and wear a mask in public places, to keep each other safe. It really is not that hard.
But while we might miss community gatherings, perhaps this is a good time to remember that Memorial Day is about something much deeper than marching bands and backyard barbecues.
As the country and the world struggle with the health impacts of Covid-19, it is appropriate that we alter our attention for one day. Memorial Day is about taking time to reflect, to remember and to pay tribute to all in our military who through the years have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
From local resident, veteran and member of Paoli American Legion Post 646 Dan McLaughlin, I received the following —
With the parades cancelled and the backyard barbecues reduced to being toned down muted affairs, the unofficial start of Summer seems to be a disappointment compared to Memorial Day weekends of years past. But Memorial Day is not supposed to be a time of celebration. Rather it is a time for remembrance. A time to pay tribute to the men and women who served and sacrificed in the defense of our nation.
The members of Paoli American Legion Post 646 did just that Saturday morning. Wearing masks and maintaining social distance, they fanned out through Philadelphia Memorial Park Cemetery in Malvern to place an American Flag at the gravesite of every Veteran buried there.
Joining them in honoring our fallen heroes were members from the Paoli Fire Company, the local Knights of Columbus, and many members of the public. In all, more than 80 people turned out to place over 1,000 American Flags and watch the laying of a wreath at a Veterans monument. Earlier in the week, Flags were placed at gravesites in other local cemeteries.
Air Force Veteran Jack Sullivan of Paoli American Legion Post 646 placing flags on the graves of fallen soldiers.