There may well be a Memorial Day parade, event, ceremony or, well, memorial somewhere in the many burgeoning metaverses, but we didn’t find one.
To be fair, metaverses are relatively new at this point and, as immersive virtual worlds go, definitely are works in progress, even if you do have an Oculus-style visor for the 3D experience.
Still, given that Google comes up with 1.37 billion results for “Memorial Day event” on the Web, you’d think there would be something. And it isn’t as if the metaverse hasn’t hosted special events before, though they’ve typically been of a far less somber nature — Decentraland’s big fashion show got great coverage, decent reviews and attracted many top labels.
The Daily Beast had a story last month about the burgeoning wedding industry cropping up in metaverses like Decentraland — there’s a Dolce & Gabbana tiara NFT for $300,000 in actual money available if the bride is into conspicuous consumption. And Cointelegraph noted in February that Decentraland hosted what may have been the first legal wedding ceremony in the metaverse, which was overseen by a law firm with a Decentraland virtual office. The nuptials were overshadowed by technical problems that prevented some guests from seeing the bride.
Despite the glitches in a 2,000-person wedding, some metaverses can handle enormous crowds, as seen from the 12.3 million people attended Travis Scott’s “Fortnite” concert. When (or if) the immersive 3D virtual worlds that are promised live up to their hype, we may get a place where events don’t have to be tied down by geography, marchers by infirmity or celebrations by budgets.
That’s why the metaverse is, in many ways, an ideal place for a celebration of a holiday where many of the people being honored would have trouble getting to a real parade. Last year, the Department of Veterans Affairs noted that only about 240,000 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II were still alive — and 1945 was 72 years ago, so any vets should be at least 90 years old.
Veterans in the metaverse could walk across Omaha Beach to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, visit the USS Arizona Memorial next to the Arlington National Cemetery, stop by the Korean War Veterans Memorial and Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and then head over to a beach party with virtual friends and loved ones from the comfort of their own homes.