Make Memorial Day more than a holiday

By Angela Shelf Medearis

Family picnics will likely have more meaning this year as the country slowly emerges from covid-19 quarantines and social distancing. (Depositphotos)

Memorial Day is a federal holiday created to remember those who died while serving our country. Because of the battle we are currently waging against COVID-19, I think it also would be fitting to recognize all of the front-line medical personnel, health workers and essential workers who are putting their lives at risk or who have died fighting against this horrible disease.

The Memorial Day holiday originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers. Today, the holiday commemorates all of those who sacrificed their lives for our country while serving in the U.S military. It is observed every year on the last Monday of May. Originally, Memorial Day was known as Decoration Day because the graves of dead soldiers were cleaned and beautified with flowers and flags.

Moina Michael is credited with the idea to wear red poppies on Memorial Day in honor of those who died. In 1915, she was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to raise money for charities serving soldiers in need. In 1922, the VFW began to sell poppies and expanded the program to selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans.

The “National Moment of Remembrance” resolution was passed in December 2000, and asks that at 3 p.m. local time, all Americans “voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of Remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.’”

This year, I would like to expand the Moment of Remembrance to include all the lives we’ve lost to COVID-19, especially those who were hospital staff and essential workers. On behalf of myself, my family and a grateful nation, thank you to all those in the military who made the ultimate sacrifice, and to those who lost their lives fighting in the war against COVID-19. This Memorial Day holiday is dedicated to all of you.

In times past, Memorial Day was the unofficial start of the summer vacation season. As the country slowly re-opens, we may be able to have family gatherings again if we adhere to the health guidelines under our “new normal.”

My family has always enjoyed getting together for a backyard barbecue. This year, our Memorial Day celebration will be even more meaningful because we have a newfound appreciation for each other, our health and for the sacrifices that have been made by so many to enable us to enjoy the American way of life and traditions that we hold so dear.




For the burgers:

1 pound ground beef (80/20 blend)

1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons steak sauce

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 1/2 ounces Meunster cheese, thinly sliced, cut into 1 1/2-inch squares

3 red tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick

8 three-inch mini brioche buns, split in half



1 cup mayonnaise

1/2 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

1 1/2 tablespoons Sriracha

1 teaspoon honey or agave syrup

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper


To make the burgers:

Gently combine the beef, parsley, 2 teaspoons of the Worcestershire sauce, the steak sauce, salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.

Heat the oil and butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and the remaining teaspoon of the Worcestershire sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool completely.


To make the Sriracha Mayo Sauce:

In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream or Greek yogurt, Sriracha, honey or agave, lemon juice, salt and pepper until well-combined. Set aside.


  1. Heat grill to medium-high. Gently form meat mixture into 8 one-inch-thick patties. Grill 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare. Top with a square of cheese after flipping the burger. Close the grill for 30 to 60 seconds to melt the cheese. Warm the buns on the grill.
  2. Place the hamburger on the bun, top with the onions, a slice of tomato, the Sriracha mayo sauce and the remaining bun.


Angela Shelf Medearis is an award-winning children’s author, culinary historian and the author of seven cookbooks. Her new cookbook is “The Kitchen Diva’s Diabetic Cookbook.” Her website is To see how-to videos, recipes and much, much more, Like Angela Shelf Medearis, The Kitchen Diva! on Facebook. Recipes may not be reprinted without permission from Angela Shelf Medearis.


© 2020 King Features Synd., Inc., and Angela Shelf Medearis