Memorial Day Weekend is expected to be busy, with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) expecting pre-pandemic level travel numbers and adding routes to accommodate the traffic.
While some people are staying local, others are hitting the road or taking to the skies ahead of the holiday. By air, land and sea, Memorial Day travelers are on their way to their weekend destination
“Everyone’s getting out and about,” said Logan Aiport traveler Connor Joyce.
Long lines at Logan and cars headed to the Cape only mean one thing.
“Memorial Day Weekend, start of the summer, you know, everyone’s traveling,” said Joyce, who’s excited to see planes packed again. “I think it’s exciting, for sure. I’m certainly more eager to get on a plane.”
Memorial Day was declared a national holiday through an act of Congress in 1971, and its roots date back to the Civil War era, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs.
Unlike Veterans Day, Memorial Day honors all military members who have died in while serving in U.S. forces.
What is Memorial Day and why do we celebrate it?
The origins of the holiday can be traced back to local observances for soldiers with neglected gravesites during the Civil War.
The first observance of what would become Memorial Day, some historians think, took place in Charleston, S.C., at the site of a horse racing track that Confederates had turned into a prison holding Union prisoners. Blacks in the city organized a burial of deceased Union prisoners and built a fence around the site, Yale historian David Blight wrote in The New York Times in 2011.
Then on May 1, 1865, they held an event there including a parade – Blacks who fought in the Civil War participated – spiritual readings and songs, and picnicking. A commemorative marker was erected there in 2010.
One of the first Decoration Days was held in Columbus, Mississippi, on April 25, 1866 by women who decorated graves of Confederate soldiers who perished in the battle at Shiloh with flowers.
On May 5, 1868, three years after the end of the Civil War, the tradition of placing flowers on veterans’ graves was continued by the establishment of Decoration Day by an organization of Union veterans, the Grand Army of the Republic.
General Ulysses S. Grant presided over the first large observance, a crowd of about 5,000 people, at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on May 30, 1873.
The orphaned children of soldiers and sailors killed during the war placed flowers and small American flags atop both Union and Confederate graves throughout the entire cemetery.
These brave service members are not only the heart and soul of our country — they are the very spine. Today — and every day — we remember their service and ultimate sacrifice to our Nation. We reflect on our sacred and enduring vow to care for their families. And together, as we pause and pray, we pledge to continue defending freedom and democracy in their honor. May God bless our fallen heroes, and may God protect our troops.
In honor and recognition of all of our fallen service members, the Congress, by a joint resolution approved May 11, 1950, as amended (36 U.S.C. 116), has requested that the President issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States to observe each Memorial Day as a day of prayer for permanent peace and designating a period on that day when the people of the United States might unite in prayer and reflection. The Congress, by Public Law 106-579, has also designated 3:00 p.m. local time on that day as a time for all Americans to observe, in their own way, the National Moment of Remembrance.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR., President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim Memorial Day, May 29, 2023, as a day of prayer for permanent peace, and I designate the hour beginning in each locality at 11:00 a.m. of that day as a time when people might unite in prayer and reflection. I urge the press, radio, television, and all other information media to cooperate in this observance. I further ask all Americans to observe the National Moment of Remembrance beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day.
I request the Governors of the United States and its Commonwealths and Territories, and the appropriate officials of all units of government, to direct that the flag be flown at half-staff until noon on this Memorial Day on all buildings, grounds, and naval vessels throughout the United States and in all areas under its jurisdiction and control. I encourage families, friends, and neighbors to post tributes to our fallen service members through the Veterans Legacy Memorial so that we may learn more about the lives and contributions of those buried in National, State, and Tribal veteran cemeteries. I also request the people of the United States to display the flag at half-staff from their homes for the customary forenoon period.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-three, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-seventh.
While some are choosing to travel, others are staying local, hoping for a quieter Boston.
“It’s just a super Memorial Day Weekend, this kind of weather, you couldn’t ask for anything better,” said Jim Brooke. He and his friend Richard are visiting their favorite spots and enjoying an emptier city. “Museums and wonderful history and parks. It does feel more relaxed.”
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