May 25, 2020
Memorial Day 2020: A Look at the Past and How to Celebrate Today
This year has been very strange so far and it may not get any less strange in the months to come. That means this Memorial Day 2020 will come and go without big family cookouts or local parades. But that doesn’t mean you can’t honor or celebrate the day. Let’s take a look back at the history of Memorial Day and what you can do this year to make a difference.
The Origins of Memorial Day
The holiday was once known as Decoration Day and began after the Civil War. However, it was not made into a federal holiday until 1971. On an informal basis, it marks the beginning of the summer in the United States.
But the history of the holiday is really about remembering veterans who have died. Many families honor the day by visiting cemeteries to celebrate the lives of their loved ones. In many cities, parades or picnics are held to bring the community together.
Honoring Memorial Day 2020 at Home
One thing we know about 2020 is that the parades and large-scale picnics we knew our entire lives are not going to be held. As shelter-in-place orders are extending throughout the country, people will still need to stay at home with only their immediate household or much smaller groups. That means long-time family traditions may need to be interrupted to help keep the spread of COVID-19 at bay.
But that doesn’t mean you have to let the day go by without observance. If you have children at home, have them do an age-appropriate project to research a family member who served or a famous member of the U.S. military. You may also want to have a small memorial service at home for anyone you would normally recognize on the day.
And keep in mind that the state’s recommended Phase-1 guidelines that went into effect on May 8th now allow you to gather in groups of 10 or fewer. This may make you feel more comfortable to invite or visit just a few close friends or family members as long as you continue to practice safe social distancing.
Ways You Can Help in the Community
While we may not be able to get out and volunteer in the ways we would like or are used to, you can still honor the community this Memorial Day from the security of sheltering in place.
- Donate the money you’re not spending on typical expenses to local charities.
- Make masks and donate them to members of the community who might not have access.
- Volunteer to help a neighbor who may not have the resources to get meals or groceries.
Pay It Forward
While we’re all anxious to get back out into the community, we do have to be safe about it. Even if we feel healthy, we have to be concerned about the most vulnerable people we may come into contact with. But that doesn’t mean you have to shutter and avoid. Instead, use this time to pay it forward.
Buy gift cards to local businesses to use at a later date. Send the money you would have spent at your barbershop or hairstylist to them without any expectation of services. The more you can do to lift the community, the better off we will all be when we can emerge to a new Asheville. Give us a call.
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