A Vision of Memorial Day
Juicy ribs lathered in barbecue sauce, meat falling off the bone. Beans, peppers, and onions swimming around in brown sugar and molasses. A big slice of the red melon, peach cobbler, and a nice cold drink. Family and friends fraternizing and talking loud. “Bones” slammed down on the table. An American flag blowing in the breeze. This is the vision that pops in my head when I hear Memorial Day.
“All gave some…. Some gave all. Remember them this Memorial Day.”Author Unknown
A 2020 Vision of a COVID-19 Infested Memorial Day
But in 2020 this common scene will not be replayed. This is not the Memorial Day that we’ve all known since it was established as a Federal holiday in 1971. It is far from it. COVID-19 has infested the U.S. and almost every other country around the world. This year for Memorial Day we can still honor those veterans who died while serving in the U.S. military. However, we should change our Memorial Day rituals in dedication of the 97,000+ people (John Hopkins University, 5.23.20) in the U.S. who have died from COVID-19.
“Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them.”
COVID-19 has altered our lives in many ways that we would never have imagined. We took many things for granted, a point of privilege for being American. Trips to the convenience store, mall, grocery store, barbershop, park, beach, or restaurant have taken on new dimensions. It requires us to arm ourselves with masks, gloves, and vision to keep our distance from others. We have to intentionally think about having these items available before we go out.
Why Shouldn’t we Gather to Celebrate Memorial Day?
We have to protect ourselves and our community from COVID-19 this Memorial Day. We shouldn’t be gathering in person with more than 10 people and not enough space to stay 6 feet apart. Whether indoors or outdoors there should be physical distancing. Even talking can spread viral droplets, especially with loud talking. I know I get loud when I’m at holiday celebrations with family. Now, imagine your home with 15- 20 people or some other location like picnic tables at the parks or beaches, sitting close together and talking loud.
The CDC provided a real life example from a church in Washington. Half of the choir members, 61, attended the 2.5 hour choir practice where they sat, sang, and fellowshipped close together. One person was known to be symptomatic.
53 out of the 61 choir members in attendance developed COVID-19. 3 were hospitalized and 2 died.
Bottom line: COVID-19 spreads easily and can be deadly.
T.D. Jakes is Right, Using Common Sense can be Lifesaving
What does Bishop T.D. Jakes say? Well, T.D. Jakes was on Facebook, talking about this virus. He called his message a public service announcement. He hesitated but felt compelled to deliver the message. He was not specifically talking about Memorial Day, but what he had to say still applies. He was casually dressed in a Nike, ‘Just do it!’ tee-shirt, but speaking eloquently as usual. He had a lot to say. Several times he mentioned using common sense.
Although Bishop T.D. Jakes professes that he is not a medical provider he is connected to a lot of people, has been there for the sick and the dying from COVID-19, and he is an influential healer. COVID-19 is real, as he attests. This virus is nothing to play Russian roulette with.
Complying with COVID-19 recommendations is “not an indictment of your FAITH.”Bishop T.D. Jakes
T.D. Jakes says, “I believe in faith, but I also believe in common sense.” He also says, “You will live or die based on your decisions, on how you handle the days ahead.” He mentions this in the context of us being on lock down- away from our usual activities, places, and people. Everyone wants to get back to normal, go back to church, restaurants, or favorite stylist. But he encourages us not to let our feelings lead to disregarding the common sense survival instincts that we all must use to get through this pandemic. “Challenge your loved ones to be careful!”
No Magic Bullet for COVID-19
There is no magic bullet (medicine or vaccine) to prevent or combat COVID-19 at this time. This is true, despite what you hear from some leaders. It can take a couple of weeks to develop symptoms if you have been infected. We don’t know how long you are immune if you recover from the infection. We do know, that it is a deadly virus, especially if you are older, low income, and have chronic diseases. African Americans are at increased risk, especially for dying from the virus. That means we should be even more diligent. And, we do know that wearing a mask, social/physical distancing and handwashing help prevent the spread.
How can Memorial Day be Enjoyable if Everyone Can’t Gather?
When COVID-19 hit in January 2020 became a very different year. No more business as usual. This virus is alive and well! So, step out of your norm. Try a few new things or just chill. Here are some ideas:
- Use your common sense. Just because something is open doesn’t mean you have to go there (park, beach, etc.).
- Wear masks- everybody who is able. Be creative and design a mask for the day.
- Stay home if you have a fever, cough, shortness of breath, wheezing, or new loss of taste or smell. If you are very ill then contact your doctor and be seen.
- Zoom barbecue: Have less than 10 people at several locations. Do Zoom or Facetime check- ins to see how it is going at the different locations. Whose food makes you drool? Who is having the most fun? Who has a healthy twist?
- If you don’t have access to electronics, then connect 6 feet apart in the space you have available outside. Wear masks when not eating. Frequent handwashing is a must. If you can’t be 6 feet apart then use your common sense and wait until next year to connect.
- Send a note via U.S. mail to someone’s family to honor their fallen relative on Memorial Day.
What are your ideas?
COVID-19, This too Shall Pass
These are unpleasant times. If WE can do the best we can right now! WE will have many more Memorial Days with the traditional feasts and great connections with our friends. Using your common sense will help insure that there is a next year worth the wait.
“Pain always leaves a gift.” BishopT.D. Jakes on SuperSoulSunday with Oprah Winfrey discussing COVID-19.Tweet
What do you think the gift is in this COVID-19 crisis?