Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day

(May 26, 2012) Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed annually in the United States on the last Monday of May, which this year is May 28, this coming week. Government offices and most businesses will be closed.

Formerly known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War. Previously, Southern ladies' organizations and southern schoolchildren had decorated Confederate graves in Richmond, Va., and other cities during the Civil War, but each region had its own date. Most dates were in May.

By the 20th century Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died in all wars. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces. There are parades and civic ceremonies. Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.

By the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as people visited the graves of their deceased relatives in church cemeteries, whether they had served in the military or not. The long weekend increasingly became devoted to shopping, family gatherings, fireworks, trips to the beach, and national media events such as the Indianapolis 500 auto race, held since 1911 on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.

As a marker, Memorial Day typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

For details about this busy weekend, check out Recorder Community Newspapers and their blogs online at Anyone interested in joining the growing group of Recorder bloggers is invited to call me at (908) 832-7420 or e-mail me at to find out about blogging, a free, simple communication tool.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

May flowers for Mom

(May 10, 2012) It looks like May showers are bringing May flowers just in time for Mother's Day, here the second Sunday in May, which is this coming weekend. The holiday honors mothers and celebrates motherhood, maternal bonds and the influence of mothers in society. It is celebrated on various days in many parts of the world, most commonly in March, April or May. It complements Father's Day, the celebration honoring fathers.

The modern holiday was first celebrated in the United States in 1907, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother. She then began a campaign to make "Mother's Day" a recognized holiday in the U.S. Although she was successful in 1914, she eventually was disappointed with its commercialization by the 1920s. Jarvis' holiday was adopted by other countries and it's now celebrated all over the world.

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers as well as those who serve as mothers. May you enjoy beautiful May flowers.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cinco de Mayo

(May 5, 2012) Today is Cinco de Mayo, the fifth of May, Mexico's Independence Day. Today also, as the first Saturday in May, is the day of the running of the 138th annual Kentucky Derby in Louisville. The stakes race is the first leg of horse racing's triple crown, featuring 3-year-olds' running 1 1/4 miles in about two minutes in front of more than 125,000 cheering spectators. Traditionally, the first Saturday in May also is First Communion day for young Catholics and two granddaughters, Emily and Lucia, will receive today. God bless them all. But for me, May 5 is most significant because it is the birthday of my first-born. In fact, this year is very special since it's his 50th. Happy birthday, John!