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Editorial: On a Memorial Day like no other in recent memory, remember fallen heroes of all sorts

Memorial Day weekend this year is sure to be unlike any many of us are used to.

Ocean City is partially open, but hotels remain closed there. A long weekend at the beach is unlikely.

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Swimming pools are closed to the public at a time they would usually be celebrating opening weekend. (Public pools cannot open until the state moves into "Phase 2" of the recovery plan.)

You can grill up some hamburgers and hot dogs in your backyard for your immediate family, but it won't quite be the same as enjoying a large cookout or picnic with extended family and friends, with restrictions on gatherings of more than 10 still in place.

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Brick-and-mortar retailers have been allowed to open at 50% capacity in Harford County and some other jurisdictions, but lingering economic uncertainty may keep consumers from splurging during Memorial Day sales they way they might’ve in years past.

Perhaps, this will give Americans an opportunity to celebrate Memorial Day for what it is supposed to be; not the unofficial start to summer marked by trips to the beach, barbecues and furniture sales, but remembering those who died fighting for our country to uphold our freedoms.

Alas, even this year it will be more difficult to celebrate our fallen warriors at public demonstrations. Large gatherings remain prohibited, which prompted the Town of Bel Air to cancel its annual Memorial Day ceremony in Shamrock Park. Other services around the state have been canceled too.

In Havre de Grace, American Legion Post 47 was still planning to conduct a service at Angel Hill Cemetery and a ceremony at Tydings Park on Monday, albeit with social distancing measures and face masks. Still, some may be wary about attending public events, as roughly 1,000 new COVID-19 cases are being reported statewide each day.

But there is never a bad time for silent reflection. So please join us in taking a moment to do so sometime this weekend, paying respects to those who have sacrificed so much for our country.

Speaking of sacrifice, lately there has been a lot of talk from some groups about how we have sacrificed too much of our freedom, and that government restrictions put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic are infringing upon our rights as Americans; the very rights that those we honor this Memorial Day died to protect.

But sacrifice really is the key word. And when we think about how so many Americans who wore the uniform paid the ultimate sacrifice so that others could be safe, it’s hard to fathom the same word being used to describe wearing a mask to the grocery store or not being able to go swimming this summer.

If anything, those who have sacrificed the most during the last few months have been healthcare workers and first responders on the front lines. Like soldiers at wartime, some have had to leave their families and, yes, some have given their own lives to keep others healthy.

Perhaps, during that silent reflection for our war heroes, we should take a moment or two to thank our healthcare heroes who have died too.

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