The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

The Chomp

The Student News Site of Gateway Regional High School

Memorial Day Celebrations

Some hidden gems!
Laurel Rose Barrett
A collage containing aspects of possible Memorial Day fun from a variety of the locations mentioned in this article

The advent of Memorial Day is usually matched with excited chatter about what beach people are attending or what they plan to eat at their family cookout. This means that oftentimes the true meaning of Memorial Day is lost in the excitement of the beginning of summer. 

I interviewed Gateway favorite, Mr. Ryan, about his traditions and how they have changed over the years. He explained not only his own shift in celebration but the country’s shift as well, “I am from the Vietnam era. I was drafted but never served due to a deferment. I can say that after such a controversial war and a split country, Memorial Day was not celebrated the same as it is today. It was a somber time. I haven’t seen such a societal split since until today.”

Military events can certainly change the tone of the holidays like Memorial Day. Mr. Ryan shared another example of WWII and how enthusiastic and hopeful society was afterward. People were eager to celebrate the big success of not only the winning of the war but also the booming economy, alliances, and other rewarding results.

He continued, “My dad was a captain in chemical warfare, so I always make sure to visit his gravesite and pay my respects.”

The true meaning of Memorial Day is to honor the men and women who died while serving their country in any form. It is meant to be a day of remembrance and recognition where people make a special occasion of visiting their lost loved ones’ memorial sites, and battle landmarks, and spending time with the ones they love. Just because the day has a heavy significance doesn’t mean that it isn’t a cause for celebration as well.

Memorial Day is still a fun weekend where college students are out of school, most adults have off work, and people are eager to start off their summer. Many lean towards beach trips with friends or family or neighborhood cook-outs, but they aren’t the only ways to celebrate the weekend.

I usually spend Memorial Day having an outdoor barbecue and pool party with my family. I’ve never really done anything different.

— Quianna Rosia, a junior at GRHS

If you are dead-set on heading to the beach for a relaxing weekend by the waves, I suggest lesser-traveled beaches like Cape May and Spring Lake. Both are historical and have beautiful scenery that you can’t see at other beaches, like rows of Victorian houses, beautiful lakes with walking trails, and the most adorable downtown shops. Spring Lake has a very uncrowded beach that makes for ideal relaxation conditions. The calmness of the beach is most likely due to its farther distance compared to Wildwood, Atlantic, and Ocean City. 

If you want a slightly more crowded beach scene or plan to go to Spring Lake but want a boardwalk too, you can venture ten minutes down the road to Point Pleasant. They have an amazing boardwalk, but a much more crowded beach. When my family goes we devote time to both Spring Lake beach and Point Pleasant boardwalk. 

If you aren’t a beachgoer but still wish to travel and spend the weekend outdoors, you can visit one of the nearby cities! We are lucky to live close to both New York and Philadelphia, with countless indoor and outdoor sights to see. If you take the New York route you can venture through Manhattan and expect less of a crowd. Visit any of the museums in the city like The Met or Museum of Natural History, or spend a day having a picnic in Central Park. 

Finally, if your usual means of celebration is hosting or attending an outdoor cookout, consider extending that celebration to embody the true meaning of Memorial Day – honoring our fallen soldiers. Whether you have personal connections to the topic or not, it is always important to pay your respects, whether that means visiting a soldier cemetery or memorial site. You may also consider donating to a cause to provide current soldiers with the supplies they need. Two sites to check out are the United Service Organizations and Wounded Warriors Family Support.

Ultimately, it is up to you how you decide to celebrate Memorial Day. However, when planning your celebrations just be sure to remember to keep the true meaning of the holiday alive during the weekend. Remember that celebrations aren’t limited to elaborate, crowded beach days or far travels. As long as you are surrounded by people you enjoy, you can celebrate and make the day special however you wish!

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About the Contributor
Laurel Rose Barrett
Laurel Rose Barrett, Editor-in-Chief
I'm Laurel Barrett, and I am in my second year as the Editor-in-Chief of The Chomp! I am currently a junior, and my favorite subjects are English and Science. My hobbies are reading, writing, and creating artistic projects, like posters and models. I am a lawyer in Mock Trial, a President of Book Club, and I am an NJ-JCL Executive Board Officer. I'm also a member of Latin Club, NHS, World Language Honors Society, and Gateway's Mentor Program. Additionally, I am the social media manager of a NJ non-profit called P.U.R.E. Girls, Inc. and enjoy volunteering at Angels Community Outreach. I plan to become a patent lawyer in the future and practice somewhere in New England. I look forward to interviewing featured teachers, writing opinion pieces, and creating book reviews for The Chomp this year! If you want to join our team, feel free to email me @[email protected].
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    Ms. PowellMay 20, 2024 at 9:01 am

    Great article! Thank you for writing about remembering our Veterans!