Animal Tracks: A special start to the summer

The long holiday weekend passed quietly at our house. We didn’t make any big plans because Cheryl had to work on Monday and someone had to be around to take care of the animals. But that, of course, did not diminish the significance of the holiday.

Memorial Day seems to confuse some people who think that the day commemorates all of the veterans who have served our country. Actually, it’s a little more than that.

Veterans Day, celebrated in November, is the day when we pay tribute to all of the people who have served in our military.

Memorial Day is the day set aside for us to pay special tribute to those Americans who died while giving their service to our country in the military.

Of course, we don’t need the excuse or a special “day” to remember those who put the good of our country before their own good. It is, however, proper to dedicate special days of tribute for both those who served and returned and those who served and died for their country. That, I believe, is why we have two separate and distinct days to thank them and their families for their sacrifice. And that, I believe, is as it should be.

I (personally) think it unfortunate that the long Memorial Day weekend is also considered “the unofficial” kickoff for the summer season. Sometimes, it seems to me that the cookouts, the annual opening of the swimming pool and vacation season drown out the greater significance of the day.

I do have to admit, though, that this year, more than most, I can understand some of the excitement.

The pandemic is not over and there is a chance that a new variation could emerge that changes the situation, but right now, things have improved drastically over a year ago. People are vaccinated. Cases are down. Mask mandates and restrictions are being lifted and there seems to be an optimism that maybe, just maybe, the worst is behind us. All of this coming more than a year after the world went into a collective lockdown.

This weekend was really the first holiday we’ve had in a year when people felt fairly safe getting about and moving around without the specter of Covid hovering around quite so close. It was an opportunity – for some the first opportunity in a year - to simply get together with friends, family, loved ones and enjoy being out together. And the key word there is together.

I like to think that the people we celebrate on Memorial Day, the people who gave their lives for all of us, gave their lives to protect the people they loved. I also like to think that after a year of the fear and uncertainty of the worse pandemic of the last one hundred years, they’d be very pleased to see us coming together again and being healthy and happy and looking forward to the future.

That, I really believe, was what they wanted more than anything else. That, I believe, is what they fought for.