Memorial Day During the Pandemic


Memorial Day during the Pandemic

                        J.R. Zane

While attendance at Memorial Day ceremonies in various communities lessened over the years, 2020 will be the year of absolutely no public gathering due to the pandemic.  However, there are still ways to honor Memorial Day while stuck in a “red zone” county. 

First, learn the difference between Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day.  Memorial Day honors all U.S. soldiers who died in battle or died as result of wounds suffered during their service.  

Veteran’s Day on November 11th is a day to thank all American soldiers- both living and deceased, with its primary purpose to thank living veterans for their service and sacrifice.  Secondly, learn a few facts surrounding its history.  Many do not realize that Memorial Day only became a national holiday in 1971.  Prior to that year it was known as Decoration Day and originated after the Civil War ended in 1865.  Now here a few ways to celebrate the meaning of the solemn holiday during a pandemic:

  1. Fly your flag;
  2. Make or have your children make patriotic posters and place in your window;
  3. Walk through a local cemetery, stop at a gravesite of a veteran and spruce it up if needed;
  4. On Facebook, post a photograph of a departed family veteran or a photo of a Memorial Day past and encourage others to do the same;
  5. Go to www.findagrave.com or www.arlingtoncemetery.mil and virtually visit;
  6. At 3 PM on Monday stop for one minute of prayer or reflection; 
  7. Order a take-out and support one of our county’s struggling restaurants;
  8. Watch the National Memorial Concert on PBS;
  9.  Read about some local heroes who died during combat service: Robert Woodbury, Pottsville, Anthony Damato, Shenandoah, William Eltringham, Branchdale, and Jason Jones, Orwigsburg are just four of many from the county who made the ultimate sacrifice over the years.
  10. In your virtual get together with relatives and friends on this unofficial start to the summer season, raise a glass and make a toast to those who sacrificed all preserving our freedom, then smile, laugh, listen to music as life goes on in these strange days. 

The Schuylkill County Historical Society is waiting for the word to reopen to the public. Keep tuned in and thank you for your support!