Mesa and Delta County families with members currently serving in the armed forces don’t need to be reminded of the purpose of the Memorial Day holiday. In most years, that somber meaning can be all but drowned out by its more festive significance as the unofficial kickoff to Mesa and Delta County’s summer season. This year, of course, Mesa and Delta County’s regular crowded Memorial Day celebrations are largely curtailed by the practical effects of social distancing.

Still, the festive mood is not entirely lost. Mixed in with this year’s restraint, it’s hard not to notice the budding of a more optimistic spirit. It’s becoming more possible to envision the future time when 2020 will be looked back upon as “that year” when the world briefly suffered societal mayhem.

We hope, briefly.

One difference this year is the comparative scarcity of the poppy lapel pins. The red poppy became a symbol of fallen soldiers after the flowers blossomed on the ravaged Belgian battlefields of World War I—”The Great War.” A soldier’s short poem, “In Flanders Field,” caught the world’s imagination with its portrayal of the red flowers as symbols of the unconquerable spirit of the fallen. This year may be partly remembered as one with fewer of those red poppies (the ones you wear after contributing to the veterans’ charities). Every Memorial Day, volunteers can be counted upon to man their posts in front of supermarkets and malls, collecting contributions for surviving veterans as they hand out the poppies. Next year, they should be back in force…

For now, here’s wishing that Mesa and Delta County’s Memorial Day finds you and your family safe and well—and more than ready to enjoy what we hope turns out to be an almost normal summer!