John Phipps: Reflect and Remember This Memorial Day

09:46AM May 26, 2020
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John Phipps has a message for the 2020 Memorial Day, with hope that reminiscing adds respite and gratitude.
( Pexels )

Pausing this weekend to remember those who have given much serving our country is perhaps one of the best things we can take time to do. I may be the only one, but Tyne had to remind me it was this weekend. What’s Memorial Day doing in the middle of May, and feeling like the middle of March? Like so much in the past few weeks this celebration seems strangely disconnected from our traditional expectations.

I hope reminiscing adds respite and gratitude to your weekend. What could also happen this year is we will remember the day itself. This Memorial Day has lost its place in our internal calendars – it’s too early, too cool, too disconnected from school, or simply adrift in the sea of Pandemic Timelessness. I think that fog of temporal uncertainty will lodge in our memories such that this holiday will become a permanent marker in our recollections. “Remember the COVID Memorial Day?” we’ll say as heads nod around us. Like other improbable forget-me-not days – the Challenger Explosion, 9/11, the OJ verdict – this Monday may endure as pin on our memory map, and in the process embed in mental amber all the minutia of the moment. We’ll recall the food we couldn’t find in the store for our traditional cookout.  We’ll recount how unusual the weather was or was not. Undoubtedly, we’ll remember who we were able to be with, and how the efforts to gather safely amused and annoyed us. Many farmers will memorize how many acres were still left and how many inches of rain had been missed or endured. Photos of how bad our hair was will haunt us for years.

Since it is likely that the multiple unusual parameters of Memorial Day 2020 will make it indelible, take advantage of this effortless permanence to make those recollections as good as they can be. Do spend time cherishing remembrances but exploit this chance to make a change for the better that will have consequences in your future. Lay a dispute to rest, heal an untended wound, let go a grudge, brighten someone’s day – efforts that will not fade in our heart because this day will be carved into mental stone. Memorial Day 2020 could even be a day we awaken from the monotony of lockdown to new purposes and possibilities, even if we still can’t leave home. This weekend, don’t just remember, make memories that will comfort and guide for many tomorrows.

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