American federal holidays and British bank holidays only line up twice a year: Christmas Day and Memorial Day (no, Easter isn’t a four-day weekend here in the US, despite the heavy involvement of evangelical Christians in Congress). Memorial Day falls on the final weekend of May, and it’s effectively the American equivalent of the UK’s Remembrance Day. But for from sombre reflections on war, poppy sales for veterans and wreaths being placed on memorials, Memorial Day weekend means barbecues and Black Friday-esque sales. Like on Independence Day, you’ll find few everyday Americans who have thought that hard about the meaning of the thing beyond “an extra day off in the sunshine”.
Across the States – where most people only get 10 days off a year – a long weekend like Memorial weekend also means travel. In fact, last Friday was recorded as the single highest travel day in passenger numbers since March 2020, just before the country went into lockdown – and with more and more people vaccinated and states opening up, this is understandable. A lot of people have taken the opportunity to see their families for the first time since Covid split everyone apart.
For E and I, though, a family visit isn’t a car ride away. We considered “going upstate”, as New Yorkers often do, but the car rental and Airbnb prices convinced us to stay at home in Brooklyn. And we couldn’t have been happier we did.
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