April 11th, 2021


Virtual Memorial Day

Greg Crosby

By Greg Crosby

Published May 22, 2020

Before we get ready to celebrate our first ever Covid Memorial Day weekend we should review the latest social guidelines and restrictions which our fearless leaders have kindly put into place to ensure our health, well-being, and safety on this occasion.

To begin with, no matter how you plan to commemorate this holiday, always remember to wear your mask and gloves, and don't forget to use 6 to 10 feet of social distance between you and anything else you might come in contact with. Got a hazmat suit? Even better.

Traditionally this three-day weekend marks the beginning of summer with many people planning three-day trips, outings to the beach, picnics in the park, and backyard barbeques with family and friends. Well, our fearless leaders have made a few alterations to those longstanding events.

Many of our fellow citizens will be happy to learn that going to the beach has now been officially sanctioned, with the following caveats: No sitting on the sand. No swimming in the water. No walking in the surf. No jogging. No surfing. No Frisbee playing. No balls. No pails. No shovels. No eating. No laughing. No groups larger than one person at a time may enter the sand and /or surf area of any beach, and must do so only between the hours of 2:00AM and 6:30 AM and must wait for a city official to say, "Simon says."

Picnics in the park are against the law. However, garbage can rummaging in the park is allowed as long as a state recognized homeless street person accompanies you. Walking on the grass, swinging on the swings, playing catch, strolling along, sitting down, standing up, and other things of that nature are strictly forbidden.

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Backyard barbeques (with or without family or friends) will not be tolerated and are subject to arrest and incarceration. Science has shown that burning of charcoal or using gas barbeques will destroy the ozone and expel dangerous carbon emissions into the air, which can increase the spread of the coronavirus. You want barbeque? Buy a bag of Barbeque flavored Lays potato chips.

In years past our cities and towns across the United States hosted Memorial Day parades, often incorporating military personnel and members of veterans' organizations. Well, that isn't happening anymore. Americans who wish to watch parades are encouraged to stream old newsreel footage of parades from World War I or World War II. Or if you prefer, just close your eyes and use your imagination.

Many Americans also observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. Memorial Day was once known as Decoration Day. Many once "decorated" the graves of our veterans with American flags and flowers. Well, we certainly won't be having that this year, so don't even think about going to a VA cemetery.

However, if you Google "Do It Yourself Home Hobby Hints" you can find out how to make paper flowers, miniature flags, and even scaled-down construction paper graves with headstones. It's a perfect way to show your patriotism in the safety and comfort of your own home.

This year our leaders are encouraging us to show our patriotism in another way. Snitch on each other! That's right. Some cities, such as New York and Los Angeles, have established "hotlines" for citizens to call and report other citizens that they've seen violating government rules. And the best part is, you can rat on your neighbors to the authorities and remain anonymous.

Memorial Day originated in the years following the Civil War to remember those soldiers who gave their lives in the conflict. Later, people would wear a red poppy as a remembrance of those fallen in war, a tradition that began with a World War I poem, "In Flanders Fields." This Memorial Day instead of red poppies we wear masks and gloves.

Here's an idea, maybe we should honor our fallen veterans this year by doing something brave. Since they showed their bravery by fighting and giving their lives for their country, let's show ours by opening up that country again!

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. He's been a JWR contributor since 1999.