Memorial Day weekend is here….the unofficial start of the summer tourism season, a 15-week stretch that is vital to so many here in Ocean County. 

Traffic has picked up noticeably over the last couple of days, especially in beach areas which all of a sudden have come to life.  Lifeguards will be out this weekend and if the weather cooperates thousands of visitors and locals alike will step onto the beaches from Point Pleasant to Long Beach Island…most for the first time this year.  Many will look to avoid crowded beach towns and will chose to stay close to home as this is a popular weekend for barbeques and family outings.



Of course for many the downside to this weekend is it brings visitors from out of the area to the Jersey Shore and they are not always a welcome sight…at least to some.  Yes they bring money which benefits not only businesses but many individuals whose livelihood depends on the cash infusion that is sure to come.

But they are not always the best guests as they jam our roads, pack our beaches and at times can be a nuisance.  But as I’ve said before…how many of you were at one time visitors who later became residents?  There’s a good chance you were not much different than those who now come here for a day, a weekend, week or even the entire summer.

At some point you and your family decided this would be a nice place to live so you moved from North Jersey or New York and now Ocean County is your home.  Bottom line is most of you reading this now are not natives and yes at one time somebody might have called you a “benny.”  You might still even be one because there has to be some period of time before you can be considered a local.

I’ve lived here 44 years so I qualify but if you’ve only been a resident for less than ten years….you’re not yet a local but you are getting close.  All kidding aside we should treat our visitors like we like to be treated when we go on vacation.

I know that for many this weekend means things like beaches, barbeques and relaxation but we should also pause to remember why we have a long holiday weekend.  It’s to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of their country and our freedom.

From the Revolutionary War to what is happening currently we honor those fathers and sons, brothers and uncles and even mothers, daughters and sisters who did not come to enjoy what many of us will this weekend.  They might be gone but as a nation we should never forget them and why we have Memorial Day.