MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – Back in March, President Joe Biden told Americans they might be able to gather in small groups by the Fourth of July if they followed COVID-19 guidelines.
Judging my Monday’s Memorial Day, Alabama is far ahead of that goal.
Large crowds gathered throughout the Mobile area, and hardly a mask could be seen. While that marked a return to normalcy, so too did the snarling traffic. By Monday night, the interstate highways intersecting in Mobile resembled any Monday evening. But it was a different story earlier in the day, as people taking advantage of great weather and an extra day off clogged the highways on their way back home from the beach and other destinations.
“It’s been packed, like a lot of traffic today,” said Abby Alcantara, who was stopping for gas in Mobile on the way home to Opelika from a trip to New Orleans.
Alcantara said it was not just the increased traffic.
“On my way here, there was three car accidents,” she said. “So my trip was delayed. … I feel like on my way home is gonna take me a long way.”
By the time Dennis Williams ventured out this afternoon, traffic on the interstates had thinned out. The Mobile resident said it was a different story for his relatives coming from out of town.
“They’re here from Dallas,” he said. “They ran into some traffic before us. Pretty heavy, they told us. You know, but they got here safely. That was the main thing.”
For folks who did not want to battle that traffic, there were local options. Families enjoyed the day at Langan Park. And some of them had double celebrations.
Devin Manigault’s relatives weren’t just honoring Memorial Day. They also were celebrating his graduation from St. Paul’s Episcopal School. He helped lead the team to the 5A state football championship in December and soon will head to the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He will play football but added he also plans to study civil engineering.
“I’ve been thinking about civil engineering since middle school,” he said. “You know, I had a robotics class and stuff like that. I didn’t want to get into computer science. So I just thought civil engineering would be the way to go.”
For Yvonne Wright, Memorial Day doubled as her 83rd birthday celebration. The family has been doing this since 2011.
“Everyone here is related in some way,” she said.