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United States: If It's Memorial Day, Summer Must Be Just Around the Corner!

Holidays + Festivals

Established to honour America's war dead, Memorial Day has evolved into more than a remembrance of the country's fallen heroes. It is thought of as the beginning of summer.

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The last hairpin curve on the road from Yosemite Valley to Glacier Point in Yosemite National Park in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. Photo Credit: Dawn Endico.

 

Memorial Day and Labor Day are sort of the bookends of summer. The former marks the beginning of summer; the latter, summer's end.

Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday of May. Labor Day is observed on the first Monday of September.

In between you can expect 3 months of hot fun in the summer time!

Memorial Day was established to honour Union soldiers, or those soldiers fighting for the north, who had died during the American Civil War.

It was inspired by commemorations held in the South to honour soldiers fighting for the Confederacy, which lost the war.

After World War I, Memorial Day was expanded to honour all men and women that died in any war or other military action in defense of the United States.

Half Mast

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The flag flyiong at half mast at the Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii. Photo Credit: .

 

It is traditional to fly the flag of the United States at half mast from dawn until noon on Memorial Day. It is then raised to full staff for the remainder of the day. Why don't they leave it at half staff all day? No idea ...

Many people display the nation's flag outside their homes on Memorial Day. Some people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly those wanting to honour family members that died in military service, leaving flowers and perhaps an American flag.

Volunteers also place an American flag on each grave site in national cemeteries - except at the Punchbowl National Cemetery in Hawaii, where a flower lei is placed instead.

Memorial Day was originally held on 30 May each year. Following passage of the Uniform Holidays Act in 1968, it has been held on the last Monday of May so that Americans could enjoy a 3 day weekend.

Labor Day, meanwhile, was established to honour American workers and to celebrate the contributions that US labour unions had made on their behalf.

If Memorial Day is thought of as the beginning of summer, Labor Day is thought of as summer's end. Both days are celebrated with picnics, barbecues, street parades, and fireworks displays after dark.

Many people think of them as the first and last chance to enjoy outdoor activities. For this reason, many people head to the mountains or the sea.

Campgrounds, hotels, motels, and resorts are usually fully booked. Airlines often add flights to accommodate the increase in demand for travel - and raise fares, as well.

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