Had it been a Friday on the cusp of Memorial Day Weekend in any other year, there would be that giddy sense of excitement as we turned the first crisp pages of the new issue of Fire Island News for the season – pages smelling of freshly printed ink and full of promise of all that lay ahead for another wonderful summer on our island home.
Today I write to you under the shadow of a very different reality, a skewed reality. Since the New York coronavirus lockdown began and some residents opened their homes early to shelter here instead of the city, Fire Island felt more bustling last April than it sometimes does in early June. Yet in spite of the longer days and sun shining bright, it also feels like winter still has not lifted her chilly veil.
Yet it’s Memorial Day Weekend, and there are heroes to honor. Soldiers who stand or have fallen in wars past and present, some who wore military uniforms, others that don medical scrubs, then there are those behind checkout counters modestly wearing their mask and gloves to serve another day.
Much like many of the local Fire Island restaurants and essential business stores have had to recalibrate with curbside service to adjust to the present environment, so must Fire Island News compensate for the situation at hand. Remember, we too are a small family-owned business. Several people have asked me over the past few weeks if we will be publishing this summer? My answer is we never stopped publishing.
Throughout the off-season we covered relevant local news on our website and engaged in often animated dialogue with readers on our Face Book page. When the coronavirus reached Long Island’s shores this did not change. We watched in sadness as local businesses shuttered their doors around us, our hearts sank as beloved annual Fire Island events planned for the summer were cancelled one by one, and mourned with you as we took on the solemn task of chronicling the lives of Fire Islanders who left us too soon because of this insidious disease.
As a longtime resident I believe in the resilience of Fire Island, and as an American I believe in the foundations that our nation was built on. This is not the first long winter we endured together and it will not be our last. Much like unseasonably frigid spring seasons that we have witnessed before, the flowers take longer to bloom, but bloom they must and ultimately do. Fire Island News shall continue to publish as we move into full time operation this summer, but this year the smell of those freshly inked newspaper pages will have to wait until later, but we promise the fragrance will be just as sweet.
Shoshanna McCollum, Editor
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