What first began as Decoration Day has evolved into a weekend long, nationwide celebration of fallen soldiers who have risked their entirety for our country. President Lyndon B. Johnson officially confirmed that residents in Waterloo, New York were indeed the first to celebrate the unprecedented holiday, honoring those who passed during the Civil War by closing businesses and raising flags half staff. It wasn’t until after World War I that the holiday received recognition from the United States government. In 1971, Congress finally declared Memorial Day a national holiday and moved it from May 30th to the last Monday of May, to consistently honor our soldiers, through the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968. To commemorate the soldiers, annually, the flag is raised half staff until noon when it is raised to the top which is followed by a brief pause for a National Moment of Remembrance at 3:00 p.m. It has now become tradition to place flowers and flags on the graves of soldiers followed by parades highlighting American pride within communities and celebrating veterans and military personnel within the processions.
Unofficially, the weekend marks the beginning of summer celebrations calling for a flood of local events in and around the city of Philadelphia. In between barbecues and gatherings spend your time exploring what the area has to offer through special events hosted this weekend.
Here are some interesting events nearby to fill your weekend!
May 24th- June 3rd: The Devon Horse Show and Country Fair gathers the attention of people nationwide to display the talent in one of the most elite horseback riding competition. Not only can you enjoy the horses, but you can browse the vendors brimming with art, antiques and other knacks, as well as snack on classic concessions. http://www.devonhorseshow.net
May 24th- July 8th: There’s lots of time to stop by Photo Pop Philly! Check out the amazing work of assorted local artists and up your Instagram profile with these stunning backdrops. The red, white and blue theme fits perfectly with the recent holidays, too! https://www.photopopphilly.com
May 26th- 28th: Delve into American history at the National Constitution Center and expand your knowledge on the origins of our national anthem, flag and traditions through various shows and games- all while honoring the men and women serving in our military. https://constitutioncenter.org
May 27th: Visit Laurel Hill Cemetery to see the site of General George Meade’s grave before a ceremony honoring veterans followed by refreshments. During your visit don’t forget to inquire the staff about interesting graves and any interesting stories!
May 24th- 26th: Celebrations continue with a firework and fountain show at the beautifulLongwood Gardens. The first ever show will showcase red, white and blue lights and summer hits so sit back and enjoy the elaborate show after spending the day exploring the area- admiring the flora and fauna. https://longwoodgardens.org/events-and-performances/events/fireworks-fountains-shows
Before the exciting weekend events begin, remember to take the time and remember what enables us to maintain the lives we have. Reach out to veterans or those who are currently serving to let them know their service is not going unnoticed.
Article by Rebecca Wenger, a current senior at Marple Newtown High School in Newtown Square, PA. Rebecca is a volunteer for the Communication and Marketing Dept. at Falvey Memorial Library as part of her final senior project. This fall, she plans to attend The University of South Carolina in pursuit of a BS in Marketing.
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