Memorial Day – What are we celebrating?

Most of us think of Memorial Day as the start of summer.  Usually pools open for the season, boaters enjoy the water, the Indy 500 takes place and stores offer sales.  However, the day has a much deeper meaning.  Memorial Day was originally created as Decoration Day which was meant to honor the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War.  Since then the event has changed meanings and names, and is now called Memorial Day.  Memorial Day is now a day dedicated to remembering the men and women who died while in service of the United States Armed Forces.  Congress passed a law (PL 106-579) that on Memorial Day at 3pm your local time we are to honor a moment of silence to remember the soldiers that gave their lives protecting our country.

Memorial Day has evolved over time to become what it is now, a 3 day weekend consisting of remembrance, trips, shopping, events and family gatherings.  One of the most notable events is the Indy 500 auto race which has been held on the Sunday before Memorial Day since 1911.  The 500 mile race is held at the largest spectator sporting facility in the world with over 250,000 permanent seats on 1,025 acres.  Take a look at the picture below to try to grasp the size.  This picture is from Indianapolis Motor Speedways website showing the scale of the property.

This picture is from Indianapolis Motor Speedways website showing the scale of the property.

Retailers have begun pushing the Memorial Day sales events as well as Texas.  That’s right, if you’re in Texas and you buy an energy efficient product that carries the Energy Star logo you don’t have to pay sales tax all Memorial Day weekend.  If you’re going to go shopping your best bet to save money would be on clothing.  Most stores will be offering discounts on shirts, shorts and swimwear.  The discounts vary from store to store but it looks like we will see a 15% to 60% sale on certain clothing.  With this kind of discount it might be time to get a new swimsuit or two.

AAA predicts that 34.8 million Americans will be traveling more than 50 miles from home over Memorial Day weekend this year.  If you are one of those people make sure to check your car out before the trip.  Checking your oil, tire pressure and coolant can save you a hassle and wrecked trip.  Besides getting your vehicle checked out make sure you have your route planned out.  Many states have begun their construction projects on local roads and highways.  If you run into a closed road look for the detour signs, use a GPS device or carry a map in the car so you can find your way around.

However you plan on spending Memorial Day weekend have fun and be safe.  Look for next week’s blog about how to stay safe while traveling.