Memorial Day weekend is gearing up to be very special this year. Many communities are coming together with tremendous enthusiasm to hold parades and conduct ceremonies that honor fallen military heroes. The discontinuation of pandemic shelter-in-place and safer-at-home policies has been met with great relief and a renewed recognition of what is most important to Americans, including coming together to celebrate life, and on Memorial Day, lament death.
The pandemic has been difficult for everyone. It was hard to stay at home, but we did it out of respect for first responders, essential workers, and healthcare providers who asked us to. Our favorite music venues shut their doors. Graduations and proms were cancelled. We missed holidays and birthdays with our families and friends. Libraries, movie theaters, and museums-all closed!
The Ironwood team did what many businesses did: worked from home offices and attended a lot of Zoom meetings with clients and collaborators. We missed out on public projects such as in-person charettes, working groups, and outreach.
When we were finally able to leave our houses, it was to restaurants that had outdoor dining areas or the space to accommodate curbside services. When the weather cooperated, we visited playgrounds and hiking trails, often to find nowhere to park our cars because everyone else had the same basic need to get outside. Never have we been so grateful for open spaces nor relied upon them so heavily.
This Memorial Day as we remember those who sacrificed themselves during military service for our American freedoms, we might also pause to recognize the first responders, essential workers, and healthcare providers who lost their lives to COVID. Only some of them wore uniforms and took an oath, but they are all heroes.