Ozarks Apprentice

Get Ready to Go Nowhere: Memorial Day in a Pandemic
The year 2020 will see a slew of holidays celebrated in a post-pandemic world. With Memorial Day weekend just around the corner, it would be very easy to stay focused on all that we cannot or should not have because of a bruised economy and social distancing recommendations. Time-honored traditions will be frowned upon. Do you normally host 50 people for a bar-be-cue blowout? The CDC says you should think again. 
There’s something viscerally abhorrent about being told what we can and cannot do on Memorial Day, a day we celebrate and remember those who have died to secure our freedoms. 
In general, it is not my observation that the people of the Ozarks are whiners or lamenters. When the going gets tough, the tough get going, and that is what I see in my friends and neighbors. We are tough. We know all about hard work, tough times, tightening belts, disappointment, and suffering. But, I think we also know about common sense, and I believe we know about gratitude. 
Generations of our forefathers, millions of Americans, have made the ultimate sacrifice not for roasting hot dogs and saluting the start of summer, but for the peace and prosperity that those things represent. For the American way of life, which is characterized by freedom. However, we should not belittle the loss of public or private Memorial Day celebrations. Losing any tradition is a blow, plain and simple. 
2020 is not a year of peace and prosperity in our country. The pandemic has robbed many people of their peace of mind, of their financial security, and of material comforts. It’s normal and natural to mourn the good times and to miss the things we used to be able to do. But, here in the heart of one of the most beautiful places on earth, allow me to humbly suggest that we spend our holiday thankful for what we, in the Ozarks, have that money and prosperity cannot provide. 
We have million-dollar views on every country lane. We have neighbors who will look you in the eye as you pass on the street or will wave as you drive by. We have a community that cares about our history, that keeps up our cemeteries, supports those in need, and comes together in times of tragedy. The fact that we are a community of people who love our country and who care enough to mourn our traditions is a beautiful thing, in a way. 
The way we celebrate Memorial Day this year may be different, perhaps quieter or more subdued. There is still reason to thank God for America and for what this holiday stands for. There’s always a reason to thank God for something, or everything. Make the tough choice to choose gratitude even in these hard times.

Howell County News

110 W. Main St.,
Willow Springs, MO 65793

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