The weather here in New York has been warming in anticipation for Memorial Day, and though summer still is about a month away, millions this weekend will hit the beach, lake or other random body of water and party like its mid-July.
But before you throw rows of hot dogs on the grill and get sunburned out on the lake, let’s take a moment to remember why you get a long weekend that opens the door to summertime.
Memorial Day is the US holiday set aside to remember American soldiers who have lost their lives in wars foreign and domestic, celebrated on the final Monday in May. But it wasn’t always called Memorial Day. See below for three things you may not have known about the holiday.
It used to be called Decoration Day
The holiday was created shortly after the American Civil War to honour those who died in the conflict, and soldiers would decorate the graves of the fallen with flags, wreaths and flowers. It wasn’t officially called Memorial Day until the 1880s, according to Time.
For years, the holiday was celebrated on 30 May every year, but was moved to the final Monday in May in 1971. So you can thank the Uniform Monday Holiday Act for your long weekend.
You will probably break the law on Memorial Day
No, not by drinking and boating, though please be careful. You will be breaking the law if you don’t pause at 3 pm on Monday to take part in the National Moment of Remembrance. Congress passed this law back in 2000, but it does not seem to be enforced.
More people are travelling this Memorial Day than have in 10 years
AAA Auto Club says that it expects some 37 million people to travel more than 50 miles from home this Memorial Day weekend, the most people that have travelled on that weekend in 10 years, according to AAA Spokesman Robert Sinclair.
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