Memorial Day 2020 – A Unique Moment
“Jay Lucas at the Gold Star Mothers Memorial Statue.”
This year, Memorial Day comes during an unprecedented period, one where we’ve all been asked to make unexpected sacrifices. Though we may not be able to have our backyard cookout or enjoy the local parade we’re accustomed to, these are small sacrifices in comparison to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. It’s a powerful reminder to never take for granted the freedoms we’re so fortunate to have, even in these moments. And the sacrifice of those who have come before us will continue to serve as motivation while we work towards restoring the full freedoms we have been accustomed to in our daily lives.
During the first ever national commemoration of Memorial Day in 1868, then known as Decoration day, when speaking about those who’d given their life to keep our country unified, former Union General James Garfield stated, “they summed up and perfected, by one supreme act, the highest virtues of men and citizens. They made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.” This weekend we observe Memorial Day, a day of significant remembrance for those who have died in the service of our country.
Originally started following the Civil War to remember all those who lost their lives during our nation’s bloodiest conflict, it’s evolved to honor each individual who has fought and died for this country. So, let this Memorial Day be a day of reflection and also, a day of gratitude for what we’ve been given, and hope to still achieve, by those who have laid so costly a price at the altar of our freedom.
Running Races in a ‘Virtual’ World
COVID-19 has led to an outright ban on one of my favorite activities, running in races. Fun community events such as 5k’s have been suspended and these races, while competitive in one sense, are really more about building a sense of comradery and positive spirit around a healthy and fun activity. The new reality has prompted race organizers to find creative ways to continue to engage their communities and their customers - now organiziing virtual races, where entrants run pre-determined routes on their own time. While not the same as being in an excited, spirited crowd of 500 people, these events do help to remind us that there are other people out there still doing the same things we are doing. And, it does build a sense of togetherness.
Millennium Running in Bedford, NH, recently decided to take this concept to the next level, however. They announced that they are going to be conducting the world’s ‘longest’ 5k race. Runners can sign up and go to the course over a period of 1-2 months. They will be given a bib and timed just as if they were in a full competitive race! Not only is this record setting (longest open time for a 5k), it is an inventive and creative way to organize a fun competitive activity and truly make the best of the current situation.
Reinventing the Drive-In Theater Experience!
As states begin to loosen the restrictions for gatherings and businesses begin to re-open, business owners still must navigate unexpected roadblocks and obstacles on the way to recovery. It is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit and a ‘Can Do’ mentality of the local small business owner that so very many of them are overcoming these obstacles and testing uncharted waters. One such business is the Tupelo Music Hall in Derry, New Hampshire.
Many of us can recall a time when we ventured out to enjoy a movie at the Drive-In Theater. I remember packing up the car and taking the kids to see fun films at the Drive-In Theater Milford, New Hampshire. There was a certain excitement in the air as twilight was upon us and the movies were about to begin.
Well, now imagine today’s situation for music halls and live music performances. With social distancing guidelines and restrictions on gatherings still in effect for the forceable future, music and performance venues have been forced to cancel their seasons or even close down entirely. But, the Tupelo Music Hall has drawn upon the well-known magic of the ‘Drive-In’ and combined this concept with their commitment to creating music memories – and has now created the ‘Drive-In Music Experience.’
The Tupelo Music Hall has converted their parking lot into an outdoor concert facility. Patrons are assigned two spots upon arrival. One for their car and one for their outdoor chairs. Partnering with a local radio station, the music is broadcast over the air so attendees can listen simply using in-car audio. The performances range from 75 to 90 minutes long and fans wanting to have some food while enjoying the concert can simple order off of the Tupelo’s online menu and the food will arrive via golf cart to their car.
Tupelo is creating truly a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience for their local patrons – an opportunity for music fans to enjoy their favorite acts while being outside in some great weather.
Congrats to Tupelo! We admire their creativity as well as the positive spirit of all the other business who are navigating thru these tough times and finding a way to succeed.
I invite you to learn more about the Tupelo Music Hall and maybe Karen and I will see you at a performance there sometime soon.
Positive Profile of the Week: Sgt. Ryan Pitts and the Fallen Members of His Unit
It was early in the morning of July 13, 2008 in Kunar Province, Afghanistan when Sgt. Ryan Pitts of Nashua, NH and his unit, Chosen Company, 2d Battalion, 503d Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade came under a well-coordinated attack from 200 enemy combatants. Outnumbered more than 4-1, Sgt. Pitts and his company fought for hours, repelling the attack. Sgt. Pitts would be severely wounded by shrapnel during the exchange, but continued fighting, preventing the enemy from overtaking the patrol base he so bravely defended and gaining a strategic foothold. For his actions, Sgt. Pitts would be awarded our country’s highest military decoration, The Medal of Honor.
Sgt. Pitts' unit sustained heavy casualties in what is now known as The Battle of Wanat. 9 of his fellow soldiers would make the ultimate sacrifice in defense of their position. Their names are:
Spc. Sergio S. Abad
Cpl. Jonathan R. Ayers Cpl. Jason M. Bogar
1st Lt. Jonathan P. Brostrom
Sgt. Israel Garcia
Cpl. Jason D. Hovater
Cpl. Matthew B. Phillips
Cpl. Pruitt A. Rainey
Cpl. Gunnar W. Zwilling
This Memorial Day, we want to celebrate the lives of these men, and give thanks for the tremendous bravery exemplified by Sgt. Pitts and his heroic actions. His steadfast commitment and their sacrifice remind us of the incredible courage and bravery of our men and women in uniform, and to always cherish the freedoms we’re so privileged to enjoy as a result of that sacrifice.
Quotes of the Week: Perspective
“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn't feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.”
― Neil Armstrong
“I'm just thankful for everything, all the blessings in my life, trying to stay that way. I think that's the best way to start your day and finish your day. It keeps everything in perspective.”
“Faith gives you an inner strength and a sense of balance and perspective in life.”
“If you have faith, then your whole life is put in a new perspective. You get to work but enjoy the work at the same time. If you grow spiritually, you do what's in front of you and let the results speak for themselves.”
“I try to look on all the great things God's done, and not focus on the negative. It's a perspective.”
“Most people's historical perspective begins with the day of their birth.”
“Tolerance is important, especially in a democracy. The ability to have honest conversations, even if you come from a different place, a difference perspective, is fundamentally important.”