Those of who get Memorial Day off love the annual three-day Memorial Day weekend. It’s the unofficial kick-off of summer, the weather is usually great, and it’s the perfect occasion to barbecue. In Maryland, Memorial Day is extra special though, for a few reasons. I have a lot to say in criticism of the Maryland Way of doing things, mostly that its people are generally overworked, overstressed, and too busy to make the place feel human. However, Memorial Day is the biggest ray of sunshine on the calendar in Maryland, and brings out the best in everyone. Here’s why:
1. The “Ahhhh” factor. In Maryland, Memorial Day is the foremost time of year when everyone kicks back and says “ahhhh.” It’s the one time of year when it’s all worth it: All the long hours, grinding commutes, rushing around everywhere every day in the densely populated DC-Baltimore corridor, working so hard for that next raise or promotion. It’s all worth it during the 3-day Memorial Day weekend as you fire up the grill at home and have friends over or head to Ocean City (assuming you can beat the yearly traffic). It’s the one time of year when Marylanders can sit back and rest on their achievements—and actually enjoy the things and the nice house they have worked so hard all year to have. Even if you don’t have a barbecue at your house, you can just go to a friend’s house.
2. The weather. Maryland is known by its unpredictable weather. The climate is humid subtropical, and it rains a lot and the temperature often changes rapidly and seemingly randomly. But generally, at the end of May, the weather is the perfect blend of the best of spring and the best of summer. It will be humid, to be sure, but not as humid as late summer. The weather is likely to be in the low 80s. Also, the full force of the mosquitoes has not begun yet, and allergy season is finally over.
3. Military appreciation. A very large proportion of the Maryland workforce has ties to the military, be it active duty, reserve, DoD civilians, or defense contractors, to say nothing of all the federal government contractors. There are multiple military installations, the most notable being Fort Meade, the Naval Academy in Annapolis, and Andrews AFB, just across from DC. I would say Maryland has more ties to the military than most other US states. The heightened appreciation of our military is something a lot of Marylanders can related to more personally than other states that are not as connected to the military. It’s something Marylanders can agree on and share on Memorial Day weekend, almost like a cultural staple. It’s also cool knowing that the president will be participating in Memorial Day ceremonies in DC, only a few miles away. There’s a strong sense of patriotism in the air.
Maryland has a lot of other three-day weekends due to the federal holiday schedule, which an outsize portion of Maryland workers are affected by. There is also Columbus Day, President’s Day, MLK Day, and Labor Day, but only Memorial Day occurs during the a time of year when the weather is optimal to enjoy the extra time off, and Marylanders make it a point to do so. It’s the perfect confluence of the three factors above that make Memorial Day weekend represent Maryland at its best. I wish Maryland a relaxing and fun Memorial Day weekend this year, and may God bless our armed forces.