Tag Archive for Memorial Day

The History of Memorial Day

Flags in front of graves in cemetary on Memorial Day

Graves of fallen service members decorated with flags for Memorial Day

An important holiday is coming up this weekend. Memorial Day is a day to honor service members who died while protecting our freedoms. It also unofficially marks the beginning of summer. Most Americans celebrate by visiting cemeteries or memorials or participating in family gatherings or parades.  But do you know the history of Memorial Day?

The first observation of Memorial Day (originally Decoration Day) was on May 30, 1868. James Garfield spoke at Arlington National Cemetary and thousands of gatherers helped to decorate the graves of fallen Civil War soldiers, both Union and Confederate, with flowers, wreaths, and flags. However, this was only the holiday’s first national recognition. It was actually inspired by smaller local observances that took place in towns across the country in the years after the Civil War.

Fun fact: New York was the first state to make Memorial Day a legal holiday!

Following World War 1, it became known as a day to honor those who perished in any American war and was made a national holiday. In 1971, Congress established that day would be observed on the last Monday of May, solidifying the Memorial Day we celebrate today.

Travel Tips for Your Memorial Day Weekend

Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to summer which means traveling, barbecue’s, swimming and spending time with family and friends. The most traditional way to travel is by car which means that this weekend you can expect some traffic. Here at Steet Ponte Mazda, we know you’re ready to kick off summer and are eager to get to your final destination, but here are some tips to keep safe while you travel this Memorial Day weekend.

Travel tips - road tripTiming is Key – If you’re able to set your schedule, take an extra day off of work to travel to avoid high traffic times. Also try driving at night since it will be cooler outside, the kids will sleep and you will probably burn less fuel. Semi’s usually take breaks at night so there will be less cars and trucks driving.

Switch Drivers – No matter how far or close your final destination is, switching drivers is always a smart idea. This allows everyone to stretch their legs, get anything they need out of the back, refuel the car and yourself and it will help reduce driver stress. If you are driving a longer distance, try swapping out drivers every two or three hours.

Pack Smart – Usually when you are getting ready for your trip and packing everything up, you pack twice as many clothes as you really need and not enough snacks. Snacks keep adults and children happy in the car and it will reduce stress, and even possibly tantrums. No matter where you are traveling to, you can always find a laundry center or shopping center in every town. If you run out of clothes you can always go wash them at the Laundromat or get some new threads at a store in town.

Stop Along the Way – If you switch drivers then stopping will come naturally. With some planning you can find some interesting places you can pull over and explore. Take some time to map out your route and see if there is any fun or unique places to stop along the way. This will break up the monotony of the road and gives everyone a chance to stretch their legs, a snack and drink before hitting the road again.

Remember to always get your car checked out before you head out for a long weekend road trip! Stop by our service department and let them look over your vehicle before you set out!