How to Observe and Enjoy Memorial Day Weekend While Social Distancing
Believe it or not, Memorial Day is right around the corner. With social distancing measures still in place in many areas of the country, most of us have been left wondering how to celebrate the unofficial start of summer.
To that end, we’ve laid out five ways to observe the holiday without breaking any stay-at-home orders. Read on below to get a better sense of what you can do to celebrate Memorial Day from the comfort of your own home this year.
1. Attend some virtual Memorial Day events
While many states and municipalities usually observe Memorial Day by hosting big events, it’s very unlikely that those will be taking place in-person this year. Fortunately, however, some local governments have already decided to move their celebrations online.
In Middleburg, Virginia, for example, the local government has agreed to host a virtual concert on Memorial Day. The event will supposedly feature a four-hour-long live stream of musical performances by local performers, as well as appearances by other special guests.
2. Virtually tour some famous battlegrounds
One good thing to come out of this pandemic is that lots of educational and historical sites are now offering interactive virtual tours as part of their online resources. Many of the nation’s war memorials are among them, which means that it’s easy to celebrate the spirit of Memorial Day even when you’re social distancing.
In particular, the Vietnam Memorial is especially user-friendly. It lets visitors virtually search the wall for the names of those who passed. Plus, it offers a photo gallery and an online guestbook, which allows those who visit to sign their names and leave comments.
Additionally, to go back to the origins of the holiday, virtually visit some of the famous battlegrounds of the Civil War. The National Parks Service hosts virtual tours of many of these sites, including Gettysburg National Military Park, and the Antietam National Battlefield.
3. Explore your family history
Most of us have family members who have served in the military at one point or another. What better way to honor the country’s fallen than to do a little digging into your family history and to find out all you can about the veterans and service members?
For many of us, the easiest way to do this is to sign up for an online ancestral history website. Those websites have online tools that allow you to trace back to the origins of your family tree. Odds are good that you will find a veteran to be celebrated and remembered.
Better yet, if you have a living family member who you know was a service member, take the time to call them. If you want, you can ask them about their time in the service, but it’s not a requirement. Simply taking the time to connect with them and to thank them for their service is what is important.
4. Contribute to a veterans’ organization
Along with the fallen members of our military, Memorial Day is also an important day to remember our nation’s veterans. With that in mind, consider donating either your time or your resources to a veteran’s organization.
Though social distancing measures will probably prevent you from being able to donate your time by volunteering, there are still ways that you can help serve the nation’s veterans and service members from a safe distance. Operation Gratitude, for example, gives you the opportunity to write letters thanking deployed troops, veterans, wounded heroes, and first responders.
If you’re unable to donate your time, consider making a monetary donation to an organization like the Department of Veterans Affairs. Many of these organizations are responsible for providing medical care to our vets and are particularly hard hit in the time of coronavirus.
5. Organize a front yard barbecue in your neighborhood
If your idea of a perfect Memorial Day weekend has more to do with hosting pool parties or going to the beach, consider organizing a front yard barbecue with some of your neighbors this year.
As the name suggests, a front yard barbecue allows your neighbors the chance to socialize with one and another from a safe distance. To do this, everyone in the neighborhood agrees to grill out at the same time. However, instead of doing on their patio or in their backyard, they bring the grill out in the front yard.
If you’re feeling especially ambitious, you can even do a few things to make it feel like a traditional summer block party. For instance, you can put one neighbor in charge of selecting some music to play during the event or you could drop off chalk beforehand to the households that have small children so that they have something to play with, even if they have to be separated from each other.