Memorial Day weekend is once again upon us – a time to celebrate, relax, take advantage of a long weekend, and most importantly, to remember Americans who died while in the military service.
Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C.
It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays.
This day is not to be confused with Veterans Day, which is observed on November 11 to honor military veterans, both alive and dead. Towns across the country now honor military personnel with services, parades, and fireworks. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 p.m. At Arlington National Cemetery, headstones are graced with small American flags.
Traditionally, on Memorial Day the flag is raised to the top of the staff and then slowly lowered to the half-staff position, where it remains until noon. Then, it is raised again to full staff for the rest of the day. Parades are also a central event on Memorial Day, which are typically military-themed and feature marching bands, the National Guard, and other military servicemen, veterans, and military vehicles. Another traditional Memorial Day event is the Indianapolis 500, which runs on the Sunday before the holiday.
Memorial Day signals the unofficial start of the summer vacation season. Many folks will be spending the weekend camping, barbecuing, or vacationing, which means more drivers on the road and more crowds. So stay safe out there guys! Enjoy yourselves responsibly and don’t fall victim to road rage or drunk driving.
With 20+ years experience in residential and investment real estate sales, property management and pre-purchase consultation. Matt is an Ohio licensed Realtor currently working as Sales Manger at Real Property Management.Contact him directly at [email protected] or on twitter @CincySalesGuy