I’ve sometimes felt a little bit guilty about how I’ve spent Memorial Day weekend.
Memorial Day, of course, should be all about those who made the ultimate sacrifice fighting for our freedom. Like many people, though, I’ve also seen it as the unofficial start of summer — a time for barbecues with family and friends, three-day mini-vacations, and other fun things.
My wife Mary and I have always flown a flag on the front of our house, just as our moms and dads did. I remember putting flags on the graves of those who served at the local cemetery when I was a Boy Scout. Over the years, we attended many community Memorial Day parades — though, truth be told, it was often in large part because one or more of our four kids was marching in them.
Many more of my memories of Memorial Day involve moments that didn’t have much to do with the focus of the day.
We always had big family barbecues at our home when I was a kid. There seemed to always be baseball doubleheaders to watch on TV. (Younger readers, ask your parents what a doubleheader was.)
And, since Mary’s birthday falls around the holiday, we’ve enjoyed many Memorial Day weekend getaways.
This year will be different.
Like many of you, we’ll be home this weekend and have plenty of time to think about our dads and other relatives who served.
We’ll be thinking about the freedoms they fought for and the sacrifices they felt it was their responsibility to make.
Responsibility to others is something worth thinking about today.
It sometimes feels these days that we’ve gone from being a nation of “we the people” to one of “me the individual.” But I still believe the majority of us feel a responsibility to do what’s right for our friends and neighbors.
As a community newspaper editor, I am blessed to work with a team of reporters and editors, each of whom cares deeply about their responsibility to keep our communities informed of the latest COVID-19 and other local news developments.
We’ve taken that responsibility seriously. We have made all of our coronavirus news available online to non-subscribers and continue to do so, even in difficult times when we really need the financial support of subscribers and advertisers.
Being responsible has been different during this pandemic than it has been in other times of tragedy. This time, we’ve been asked to stand together by standing at least 6 feet apart.
That hasn’t always gone as well as it ideally would have nationwide. There are people who feel wearing a mask is somehow a violation of their constitutional rights.
It’s not. It’s being considerate. It’s responsible.
The good news is, as we report day after day in The Daily Item, most people locally have taken this crisis seriously. Many are doing things to help others get through this tough time.
By the way, if you know of someone who is making a difference for others during this pandemic, please shoot me an email at the address published at the bottom of this column. We’re always looking for stories about what Mr. Rogers called “the helpers.”
Meanwhile, let’s take advantage this weekend of the extra time we have to be thankful for those who gave so much and taught us the importance of being responsible to others.
And then let’s continue to be responsible.
Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.