Ever wonder how Memorial Day came to be? Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays)
According to AAA, an estimated 32.4 million people — roughly 11 percent of the U.S. population — will take some kind of trip over the holiday, most of them on the road. That’s an increase of 1.5 percent from last year’s dismal travel season, when pump prices rose above $4 a gallon and millions of people stayed put.
So here are some tips to traveling this weekend that you’ll want to be sure to remember.
1. Make sure your car is in good shape and ready for the journey. Check the oil, the tires, the air-conditioning, etc. to make sure they all work.
2. Stay up to date on the traffic patterns so you don’t get stuck in bumper to bumper traffic on the way out of town.
3. Bring games, music, movies and other items for your kids while in the car (which will prevent them asking, “Are we there yet?” every five minutes)
4. Bring essentials in the car with you in case you’re stuck on the freeway with nowhere to ‘go’ (that means toilet paper). Bring water, snacks and other essentials for a car ride as well.
5. Have a plan for your trip. Make sure you know where you’re going and what you’ll be doing. Reservations can also be helpful on a busy weekend
6. Have fun! Enjoy life and being with family. Appreciate the freedom and privilege that many have given their lives to protect for us.
Happy Memorial Day Weekend!