Memorial Day has been officially celebrated since the 1860’s. I was actually born on Memorial Day, May 30th. I have been told the parade had just started that year as I came into the world. Memorial Day was always celebrated on May 30th until 1968 when the signing of the Uniform Holiday’s Bill changed the official Memorial Day to the last Monday in May to make for a convenient 3 day weekend and most families now celebrate Memorial Day all weekend long.
On my birthday we always had the day off from school and there was a solemn and proud parade. My family would sit stoically on the middle of Congress Street in a small town in Maine celebrating with flags and uniforms and listening to the events on our radios. We always took red geraniums to the cemetery and remembered the war heroes. It was not long before I learned the day and the parades were not to celebrate my birthday, but to remember all the brave people who served the country and gave their lives for it.
Today we still celebrate Memorial Day as a day to remember with wreath laying and parades. Celebrations are plenty in Boston and surrounding towns. According to Boston CBS Local there are over sixty parades scheduled this year for the different towns and cities in Massachusetts. The Lexington celebrations are large in part because of the history of the Revolutionary War and Memorial Day comes on the heels of the Patriots Day celebrations in April. Before the parade there is a Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Westview Cemetery on Bedford Street in Lexington at approximately 9:00 a.m. which is followed by a parade beginning on Massachusetts Avenue around 10:00 a.m. There are stops at different memorials including the Korean and Vietnam Memorials as well as the World War II Memorial continuing to the grave site of Captain John Parker, the Captain of the militia in the Battle of Lexington. The parade concludes at the Lexington Battle Green with official ceremonies. This parade always has many moments of personal and private memories and is a parade not to miss on Memorial Day.
Finally, the Boston Red Sox are scheduled to play the Chicago White Sox on this celebrated Memorial Day holiday that just so happens to fall on the original date of May 30th this year. What a nice way to end the Memorial Day Holiday and begin celebrating the beginning of summer. So it looks like my birthday, at least for this year, will be a small celebration shared with the much bigger and more important parade and celebration of Memorial Day.