Memorial Day is just about here and in the NEK it’s basically the kickoff to summer! Yet, with the unexpected presence of Covid-19 that is still lingering around the country (and the world) Memorial Day as we know will just not be the same this year and it shouldn’t be! Large gatherings, parades and ceremonies are often how we celebrate and commemorate this day and all that it represents. This year our celebrations will represent that in a different way, and in some ways it’s just as important. One way you can truly recognize those who spared their lives for this country is by doing your best to spare more lives by being smart and being safe!

Being smart does not give you a free license to do what you please. In fact, it’s a caution to really think about what you are doing and how it could impact not just you but also those around you! When our Governor commissioned us to “be smart, be safe,” he’s really calling us into action or in-action to serve our communities, our state and beyond. Personal feelings and desires aside, when you are asked by governing officials to act in a certain way it isn’t just for their pleasure either, it is for the state and in turn even the country. This is our chance to step up and be accountable and agreeable together. Much like service people have done for this country and our freedom for hundreds of years.

Being smart and being safe doesn’t mean we can’t honor the lives lost. While parades are canceled, many ceremonies can be found online that you can view and participate in virtually. You could also take some time to read articles, virtually visit memorials, and even take time to pause and show respect and honor in your own home with a moment of silence.

While Memorial Day is a day of observance it could also become a day of service. While social distancing and keeping within your own household or a limited group under 10 do a service project! Pick up garbage. Mow someone’s lawn. Buy a little extra at the store to donate to the food shelf. Better yet, make an online donation to the food shelf. Write a letter to someone in a nursing home. Plant a tree. Plant some extra veggies in your garden to donate. Check on a shut-in or someone who lives alone. Make a positive sign to put in your window. Make an appointment to donate blood. The list is endless. Your small act of service may not be the same as giving your life for this country, but it counts, and it matters! What can you do to serve this Memorial Day?

While we do recognize this day as a commemorative day, it also tends to be a day that involves food (most special days do)! This holiday is not an excuse to gather in large groups or to travel and invite people from out of your inner circle often. Remember, “be smart, be safe.” Plan for a smart, safe and simpler BBQ this year. Go ahead and maybe make it more meaningful. Get the whole family involved in the cooking. Decorate. Use plates and cutlery, you save for special occasions. Your gathering may be mini this year, but it doesn’t need to be meaningless. Take time to really enjoy and engage with the ones you can. Don’t be afraid to try to new traditions! As always limit alcohol intake, don’t drink and drive. Be smart, be safe!

While we are still in a state of emergency, we are still able to do so many things. We are still free to observe this utmost important day, we are free to do a little service of our own and we are free to gather in small meaningful groups. Don’t think about what you can’t do, embrace what you can do. Just because this year is different, doesn’t make it bad. Let’s make this a happy and healthy Memorial Day weekend by being smart and being safe. Although many of us will be apart from family and friends, together we can make it a Memorial Day to remember!


Mary Hoadley

Director of The Wellness Center