Memorial Day – which is often referred to as the kick-off weekend for summer, has a much richer meaning than family fun.
- May 1868: General John Logan, decreed May 30 as a national day of commemoration for Americans killed in the civil war.
- May 1890: By this year, every state of the Union had adopted Decoration Day as an official holiday.
- For more than 50 years, it was a day of remembrance of those who had died in the civil war
- When America took up arms in World War I, it became a holiday for those who had died in all wars.
- 1968: The year that Decoration Day officially became Memorial Day (even though the term Memorial Day had been common for many years). It also marks the year it was changed from May 30 to the last Monday in May.
- 1971: Memorial Day officially became a Federal Holiday.
- Regardless of each community’s celebrations, parades, etc., the American flag should be hung at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day, and then raised to the top of the staff.
- All Americans are encouraged to pause for a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. local time.
While social distancing and other restrictive measures may hamper our usual activities, there are opportunities to make this weekend memorable.
1. Visit a war museum via virtual tour: Some of the options include:
- National WWI Museum and Memorial, Kansas City, Mo.
- National World War II Museum, New Orleans
- National Veterans Memorial and Museum, Columbus, Ohio
- National Museum of the U.S. Navy, Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C
- Pritzker Military Museum and Library, Chicago
- Cold War Museum, Warrenton, VA
- Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum, New York City
For more information, click here.
2. Take a hike: Arizona State Parks and Trails recreation parks, campgrounds, and trails are open. Wear your patriotism and take a hike at one of our many parks and hiking areas across the state.
3. Take a bike ride: Whether on biking trails or in your neighborhood, it’s a great way to get exercise and fresh air. Help the kiddos decorate their bikes in red, white, and blue.
4. Buy some flowers: Decorate the grave of a veteran or share with someone who lost a family member in a war.
5. Visit the USS Memorial Gardens at Salt River: Open from dawn to dusk, the USS Memorial Gardens at Salt River include an original boathouse relic from the USS Arizona and over 1,500 illuminated columns silhouetting the dimensions of the USS Arizona representing those aboard December 7, 1941.
This year, as states begin to open back up after our ‘battle’ with COVID-19, our holiday will be a time of mourning for some, even as we look forward to renewed freedom. Our desire to celebrate is hampered by both loss and restrictions, but we can always remember those who have put their lives on the line for us, whether in war, or other battles.