Memorial Day is seen differently by many. There are those who see it as a 3-day holiday, time to gather with friends and family for a backyard BBQ or a picnic in the park. Others look at it as the start of summer vacation. Depending on the area you live you might appreciate the warmth it brings; a real end to late spring winter-like weather. Often young people see it as the official ending of the school year with visions of sleeping late or playing the day away. Late May is also a gardeners’ delight. No matter how you view Memorial Day, there is one constant for the last Monday in May: It is a Day of Remembrance.
Three years after the end of the Civil War, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) established Decoration Day (with the first large observance held at Arlington National Cemetery) a day set aside to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers, on May 30, a time when most flowers were in bloom throughout the country.
Major General John A. Logan declared, in 1868, “to decorate graves with the choicest of flowers of spring time. . . we should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. . . let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.”
There has been some dispute though as to the birthplace of Memorial Day with approximately 25 places named in connection with the origin of Memorial Day, and although many were in the south, the official birthplace of Memorial Day was declared in 1966, when Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, New York as the “birthplace” of Memorial Day; then by an act of Congress in 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday and to honor those who have died in American wars. In December 2000, Congress passed The National Moment of Remembrance Act, to remember all of America’s fallen heroes.
Interestingly enough, tourism bridges all that is associated with Memorial Day, for the likelihood of travel is a given.
Here is a list of some events taking place on Memorial Day ‘Weekend’ 2013
• Saturday, May 25 – 1:00-5:00 pm & May 27 – FREE admission – National Veterans Art Museum – Chicago, Illinois – Exhibit: Tenacity and Truth: People, Places and memories – Note: May 25 – 11:00 am – Wreath Laying Ceremony, Richard J. Daley Center Plaza, Chicago, IL – Parade to follow at Noon – on State Street (from lake Street to Van Buren Street) – For more information visit: www.nvam.org
• Monday, May 27 – 5:45 pm. (FREE admission) – across the river from downtown Wilmington, NC – USS Battleship North Carolina – 48th Annual Observance – visit www.battleshipnc.com/Events/MemorialDay
• Friday, May 24 – Monday, May 27 – Atlanta JAZZ Festival – Atlanta, GA / Chastain Park, Piedmont Park / Loews Atlanta Hotel – for complete schedule and details visit: www.atlanta.net/visitors/atlanta-jazz-festival.html
• Sunday, May 26 – National Memorial Day Concert – 8:00 p.m. (FREE) – West lawn of the U.S. Capitol – Washington, D.C. For more information visit:dc.about.com/od/specialeventphotos1/ss/MemDayConcert.htm
• Friday, May 24 – Electric Run – 8:20 – 11:00 pm – Begin from Home Depot Center – (Carson) Los Angeles, California. Check website for cost and details: www.electricrun.com/losangeles
• Here are some other sites to visit with details about their Memorial Day Weekend Events:
Please join our company and employees, and our franchises, in taking a moment to reflect in appreciation for those persons who have sacrificed their lives for our freedom.