For many Americans, Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start to summertime. It is one of the busier travel weekends of the year, and typically weather is warm in many places, even in northern locations like where I am in Wisconsin.
Of course the real meaning is about much more than enjoying a barbecue and some travel. Memorial Day is an American tradition going back to the 1860s. This began following the US Civil War, as a day to decorate graves of fallen soldiers with flowers. It used to be called “Decoration Day”, but in 1971, Congress formalized the last Monday in May as Memorial Day.
Sometimes I do visit some less traditional tourist spots, but I have had opportunities to observe the true meaning of the holiday. I’ve visited Arlington National Cemetery and other national cemeteries many times in the past. In the photo above, from a past Memorial Day, showing one of various tributes honoring the men and women buried there. Currently, there are nearly 500,000 graves at Arlington. If nothing else, it is pretty remarkable to see manicured fields filled with grave stones that seem to go on endlessly.
This Memorial Day, I’m spending a long weekend at home with my family. Enjoying some nice weather, and doing some work around the house. Of course the point of this blog is to talk about travel, and I’m excited for a trip we’re taking in a few weeks. Our first long haul trip in more than a year, with time spent in one of my favorite places, Spain. In addition, we are going to visit a new destination, Croatia. That we are finally able to travel like this again makes me immensely grateful. Thanks to the scientists who have worked tirelessly towards ending this pandemic. This holiday, I’m grateful to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so I can live free, and sometimes even travel the world.