What a difference a year makes!  A year ago we headed into Memorial Day weekend with a relatively healthy economy and projections for a strong summer tourism season.

That season got off to a booming start with a glorious four-day weekend filled with sunshine and spectacular beach weather.  It was simply the best of times.

Flash forward to this year and it’s a far different look.  The economy is anything but healthy and that applies to many people still battling the coronavirus not to mention the tens of thousands of Americans who have already died.  The weather forecast for this holiday weekend is not promising and neither are projections for the upcoming summer season, one that many local businesses rely on.

In Point Pleasant Beach both Jenkinson’s and Martell’s are closed because the boardwalk and beach are not even open while in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park you can enjoy the beach, walk the boardwalk and eat pizza and ice cream but not much else.

Head south to Long Beach Island and the iconic Fantasy Island Amusement Park remains closed although you can still get wings to go at The Chicken Or The Egg.  In some ways it’s the worst of times.

While Memorial Day is the unofficial start to summer it is for many the busiest weekend they will have up and down the Jersey Shore between now and Labor Day and obviously that will not be the case in 2020.  We can only hope things will get better.

What we can do is give greater meaning to the holiday itself on Monday in which we mourn, honor and salute the men and women who have died while serving in the U.S. military.  While it started as Decoration Day following the Civil War it became an official federal holiday in 1971.

Many still confuse Memorial Day with Veterans Day which is when we show our appreciation for all of those who have served in the Armed Forces.  Memorial Day is reserved for those who made the ultimate sacrifice.