Do's and Don'ts for Memorial Day During a Pandemic

man standing in a cemetery
(R. J. Lannom Jr./DVIDS)

Memorial Day during a pandemic: You'd think this would be a first. But it's not.

The first Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, was celebrated on May 30, 1868. Since then, the world has experienced multiple pandemics, not even counting the one we're currently experiencing. Remember, pandemic means a disease that is spread over a wide geographic area and affects a high proportion of the population.

So what's a military family to do this Memorial Day? Here's our list of do's and don'ts.

Do go for a walk with your family. Lace up your walking shoes, grab the dog and head out for a nice, long stroll. Wave to your neighbors, and register your walk on the wear blue: run to remember website and honor the legacies of those who have sacrificed.

Don't host a party. This is not the time for a backyard blowout. This isn't even the time to invite the neighbors over. Maybe, just maybe, you can do a socially distant cookout in your yards as you shout over the fence to each other, but no large crowds. Not this year.

Do go camping. Some state and national parks are open, but you know what's always open? Your backyard. So set up camp back there, break out the SkyView app to look at constellations, and enjoy the quiet time.

Don't gather in large crowds at the lake or beach. Depending on where you live, the beach or lake may be open to you. But you must remember that, just because it's open, doesn't mean it's the right decision. Small crowds in big spaces are good, as everyone can keep their distance.

Do order takeout. Definitely order takeout. Like some great barbecue from the place around the corner, doughnuts from the locally owned bakery or ice cream from your favorite place. Support your local economy and small businesses while you do it.

Don't eat inside a packed restaurant. This is probably already a hard no based on your service member's restrictions, but it's also just not a great idea. If you do choose to eat outside of your home, grab takeout and head to a park or nice, wide-open space.

Do visit a cemetery. Take time to visit a cemetery this Memorial Day weekend. Aim for someplace less visited and, if going to a national cemetery, make sure you read up on the latest rules.

Don't go to a parade. Just in case you were thinking you can head out to a small town gathering and sit six feet away from everyone else, it's still not a good idea. Instead, watch a parade online or catch one of these virtual events.

Do decorate the sidewalk with chalk. I'm sure you've seen the kids doing it, leaving messages for their friends or just killing time. Get some chalk, text the neighbors and decorate the sidewalks of your street.

Celebrating this Memorial Day during a pandemic is something new for most of us. Get creative and resourceful, and remember the meaning behind the day.

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--Rebecca Alwine can be reached at rebecca.alwine@monster.com. Follow her on Twitter @rebecca_alwine.

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