Even though summer may not officially begin until June 21st, Memorial Day weekend traditionally signifies the start of that season. Memorial Day has become a day for picnics, pool parties and the start of summer vacations, but it’s important to remember the holiday has somber roots. Memorial Day was first held on May 30th, 1868, to honor those lost during the Civil War. After the United States’ involvement in World War I, the holiday was expanded to honor all killed in any US war. Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968, this moved the observance of Memorial Day from May 30th to the last Monday in May. That law took effect in 1971. Here are some events and activities in Phoenix dedicated to honoring those who we have lost.
Day of Remembrance in Anthem
The Daisy Mountain Veterans and Anthem Community Council host this ceremony at the Anthem Veterans Memorial. Ceremony includes speakers, music and a POW/MIA ceremony. Roses will be placed on the pavers of those who were killed in action. Ceremony concludes with playing of “Taps.”
Details: 9am Monday, May 27th. Anthem Community Park, 41703 N. Gavilan Peak Parkway. Free. onlineatanthem.com
Memorial Day with Pioneers’ Cemetery Association
The Pioneers’ Cemetery Association presents its annual Memorial Day observance with Marty Manning as master of ceremonies. Free public parking available at Wesley Bolin Plaza. After the ceremony, tour the cemeteries and visit the historic Smurthwaite House.
Details: 9am Monday, May 27th. Pioneer and Military Memorial Park, 14th Avenue and Jefferson Street, Phoenix. Free. azhistcemeteries.org
Blue Star Museums Initiative
The Heard Museum is part of this program which offers free admission for active-duty military personnel and their families from May 27th through Labor Day, September 2nd. That includes active-duty Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, National Guard and Reserve members and up to five immediate family members.
Details: 9:30am-5pm Mondays-Saturdays; 11am-5pm Sundays. 2301 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. Free to those eligible members; $7.50-$18 for others. heard.org