After what can only be described as a miserable spring that was cold and rainy to a fault, nobody can fault our summer visitors who are eager to get their summer on. In fact, as the first truly warm weather of the year arrived on Wednesday, the mood around Sag Harbor had already shifted from off-season insouciance to a more frenetic pace as the Memorial Day weekend rush began.
But as it seems we do every year, we ask visitors and locals alike to take some time to reflect that Memorial Day is not about barbecues or half-price sales at local stores, but about remembering the sacrifice of those who gave their lives to allow us to enjoy the frivolities associated with a three-day weekend.
So, please don’t be like the guy, who, a few years back, laid on his horn long and loud because he didn’t like sitting in traffic on Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton as two nervous school kids tried to play echo “Taps” at that hamlet’s Memorial Day observance. Don’t be like the woman who sat in her car last year, complaining loudly on her cellphone that she had to wait until Sag Harbor’s short parade had made its way down Main Street before she could be on her way.
In Sag Harbor, the parade begins at 9 a.m. sharp. Turn out for it and take the time to follow it down to Marine Park, where Bob Ratcliffe, a Marine veteran who served two tours in Vietnam, will talk about the importance of this holiday and why we take a few minutes out of our day to pause and reflect. It’s not about glorifying war, Mr. Ratcliffe says, it’s about remembering the lives of people who were our relatives, neighbors and friends before they died as soldiers, sailors or airmen to defend our freedom.