PULASKI COUNTY, Va. – Despite a little chill in the air, families still found ways to relax at Claytor Lake this Memorial Day weekend for the unofficial start to summer.
As the smell of sizzling meat filled the air and smoke rose from the grill, one family indulged in a signature holiday cookout by the beach at the lake. Just inches away from the water, 9-year-old Kenay and 7-year-old Yessina could not contain their excitement.
“It was so fun,” Yessina said.
“We were playing in the sand, and my sister and I got in the lake,” Kenay added.
After a quick splash, they rushed to the tent to seek warmth. It’s a gathering Rosa Zavala was looking forward to after she and her mother overcame the coronavirus.
Zavala said it was tough not being able to hold her 3-year-old child.
“It was a very difficult time. I wasn’t able to spend time with her for almost a month while I was in recovery because I also developed pneumonia out of it,” Zavala said.
For others, this weekend meant taking an annual hike as they reflected on the meaning of the holiday.
“Memorial Day is about celebrating the soldiers who have passed,” 10-year-old Norah said.
“I’m just glad that they wanted to step up and protect our families and country,” Noah, 10, said.
Evan Smith called it a humbling holiday.
While he got ready to float on the lake with his family, he said he’s grateful for veterans, like his father, who served in the Army for five years.
“So, [I’m] constantly thinking about all our veterans and armed forces and especially those who made that sacrifice to let us have these amazing freedoms we do have,” Smith said.