Americans will honor the men and women who have died while serving in the military on Monday, May 25 — Memorial Day. And while there will be plenty of people sporting red poppies, the traditional symbol of the U.S. federal holiday and the American flag will hang proudly from homes, businesses and government buildings, celebrations will be markedly different from the past.

With the coronavirus pandemic still bringing sickness and death to hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, Memorial Day observances — those that have not been canceled — will be colored by a shroud of fear and uncertainty.

It’s inevitable that the attention will shift from honoring members of the military who have died in service to remembering our own friends and family who are either struggling with COVID-19 or who have died as a result of the virus.

However, with all 50 states and the District now beginning the partial reopening of businesses and parks, and resuming some services that had been suspended, Memorial Day has the potential of being somewhat normal. That said, it’s important to remember that as we shift from “stay home” to “safer at home” mode, we must continue to observe strict rules on social distancing.

Just last weekend, with the sun shining brightly and temperatures more reflective of a D.C. July than early May, a lot of people threw caution to the wind and gathered in groups far greater than the recommended limit of 10. Many were seen sitting, sipping and chatting without wearing face masks or coverings.

Indeed, they were taking the urgings of the late R&B icon Prince, partying like it was 1999.

But it isn’t 1999. And we remain in the midst of a health pandemic.

Enjoy the weekend, remember our fallen soldiers but don’t be foolish.

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WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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