A Maryland Kind of Memorial Day

Route One Apparel Staff

A Maryland Kind of Memorial Day

A Maryland kind of Memorial Day

by Suzanna Molino Singleton

Memorial Day in Maryland is all-American red, white and blue ... beach bound to Ocean City, Hon … no flight needed but you better like traffic … it’s the ‘ahhhhh’ sight of water beyond the Bay Bridge … and a zillion American flags waving to you as you’re driving along.

A weekend of family cookouts, freshly power-washed decks, green grassy yards and blue pool parties … the familiar smell of fired-up grills (can you believe dads once used bags of charcoal on circular metal grills?) Ahhhhhhh, sweet Dad, the grillin’ whiz of the house, stepping outside holding a plate of raw food in one hand and a cold Natty Boh in the other, sporting a matching apron.

Black-striped chicken sizzlin’ on the rack, sharing space with Oscar Meyer hotdogs and hot burgers, later smothered in bright yellow French’s mustard and Heinz 57’s bright red oozing out of the roll and staining our shirts.

The unwritten spring rule: pools must be opened by Memorial Day! Childhood memories … community parades ... flags secured to every float … it’s the good ole’ U.S. of A. Was then … still is. We stand prouder in Twenty-Eighteen.

“Pomp and circumstance” parading through the streets … “A Memorial Day parade in Govans, then a cookout at my Uncle Tom’s house,” Maureen Pinnix remembers. “Our father taught us to take off our hats and salute the color guards, American Legion reps, and VFW guys. Of course, we bought the poppy pins, too.” (Poppy pins? absolutely yes … since 1922 … “a poppy worn, a hero honored”)

And if the parade wasn’t on your Maryland Memorial Day weekend lineup, you were “getting up at three o’clock in the morning to help Dad tie the chicken necks to the crab traps, being on the water by sun-up, crabbing until we had our bushel, and then going home to steam them,” Michele Oehrl remembers, as a kid.

Rosanna Biscotti watched war movies with her father until the TV went off the air playing The National Anthem.

Proud to be an American … where at least I know I'm free.

Let us not fail to remember the factual significance of Memorial Day – a national holiday since 1971 and first observed waaaaaay back in 1868. As we listen to people mindlessly utter, “Happy Memorial Day!” … we realize the meaning isn’t so happy, and is that actually the proper phrase?

Cuz it ain’t about hotdogs and it ain’t about the beach, Hon, it’s about memorializing those active military personnel, the fallen heroes’ valor, who gave up their precious lives for our God-Bless-America … who ended in Arlington … our fellow men and women of the United States Army … our Air Force … our Navy … our Marines.

For. Our. Freedom.

It’s why everything’s closed and everyone’s off work … an active 3-day weekend with a bonus Monday to reflect.

So salute your flag, and salute your veterans, and salute those handsome young faces in military uniform staring at you from photos in the living room. That’s what we’re grilling for. That’s what the mall sales are for. That’s why the pool is ready. That’s why the car salesperson is yelling at us from a TV commercial.

And although Memorial Day is not actually about any of the insignificant things Americans make it about, it also IS … as President Ronald Reagan once reminded us: “Today is a day to be with the family and to remember – and that’s good.”

Route One Apparel salutes America’s veterans – on this Memorial Day – and every day

Leave a reply

sort by date

Latest articles

Where'd That Maryland City Name Come From?


Where'd That Maryland City Name Come ...

  Some towns and cities have pretty obvious names. They're probably named after a geographic feature, or after the person who founded it. But what about the Maryland towns with...

read more
We Love Pumpkins! 6 Pumpkin Facts You Didn't Know


We Love Pumpkins! 6 Pumpkin Facts You...

    1. The largest pumpkin ever grown was over a ton in weight! That's right! An Italian man named Stefano Cutrupi grew a pumpkin in 2021 that was 2,702 pounds....

read more
Quiz: How Well Do You Know These Maryland College Teams?


Quiz: How Well Do You Know These Mary...

Now that football season is approaching, you're probably thinking about your alma mater's homecoming game. But how well do you actually know the teams here in Maryland? If you're an...

read more
Madame Maryland's Horoscope: September 2023


Madame Maryland's Horoscope: Septembe...

Fall is in the air, Marylanders! Summer is waning, and we're finally getting some nice crisp mornings -- a sure sign that autumn will be here soon. What does the...

read more
Go Back In Time! What Was Prehistoric Maryland Like?


Go Back In Time! What Was Prehistoric...

You've probably seen some pictures or heard some stories about what Maryland was like before you lived here or before you were born. Maybe your grandparents showed you some snapshots...

read more
10 Dorm Cooking Hacks


10 Dorm Cooking Hacks

  It's time to head back to school, Marylanders! If you're living in a dorm for the first (or second, or third) time, you may be wondering what you can...

read more
5 Fun Facts About Maryland's Official Feline


5 Fun Facts About Maryland's Official...

  If you're a cat person, you know there's nothing cuter than a cuddly calico cat. These colorful kitties are so distinctive, and they make great pets. But here in...

read more


Smith Island Cake: The Local Legend

Maryland is well-known for a lot of savory things -- when we say Maryland food, you're probably thinking steamed crabs crusted with Old Bay, or fries eaten at the beach,...

read more
10 Things You Didn't Know About Maryland's State Parks


10 Things You Didn't Know About Maryl...

No matter what season it is here in Maryland, there's a state park waiting for you -- and Maryland has some pretty fantastic hidden gems deep in its woods! How...

read more