It's okay to have a barbecue this weekend, so fire the grill up. It's okay to call out "Marco Polo!" in a pool this weekend. It will delight kids of all ages. It's okay to go to a baseball game this weekend be it a pick-up, little league, the minors, or The Majors. Just set an example of good sportsmanship for younger attendees.
In fact, Dave Nemo Weekends cannot encourage you enough to do those things. Participate. Enjoy. If you're really ambitious, try to squeeze in more than one.
However, promise us you'll take a moment to relish all of your Memorial Day weekend right down to the smallest details. Examine your ritual of getting the fire ready, chew that burger slowly to savor every bite, and take the time to thank anyone else who helped make your cookout memorable. When you arrive poolside, take a deep breath of the chlorine and sunscreen. Linger a little longer at the bottom of the deep end when you take your initial plunge. Pick your favorite, nostalgic, best-summer-ever song and lip synch the lyrics while you enjoy the feel of the rays against your skin. Buy a ballpark frank or beer for a stranger before the first pitch, patiently explain the game to someone that doesn't know its finer points, and sing the national anthem, to paraphrase Satchel Paige, like no one is looking.
It's in those moment that you should remember those are the reasons they were fighting. You know who we're talking about: the ones who never made it off the beach, never evacuated from the lonely desert village, never returned to port, never came back down the mountain, and never saw another Memorial Day backyard barbecue again.
Remember, the vast majority of those who gave their life in service of their country enjoyed all those aforementioned things you will be enjoying this weekend. They enjoyed it in the company of the parents, children, spouses, family, and friends that set an empty place for them without fail this time of year. Memorial Day need not be an unremittingly solemn teeth gnashing lament for what could have been and what will never be. That is for those that died in vain. Instead, Memorial Day weekend should honor those gone by creating a space for their remembrance. Do that, and then enjoy the freedom for which they fought. A prayer, a service, a moment of reflection before the backyard, poolside, or ballpark fills up is all it takes to summon their spirit to your celebration.
Once you've done that, you'll find the sizzle of your cookout, the splashing of the children, and the cheer of the crowd becomes a reflection of everything those no longer with us stood for and will continue to stand for as long as the country they loved continues to love them back.