Memorial Day Origins and Travel Tips

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With many Americans getting time off at the end of the month, Memorial Day is usually a day to gather with family and friends, hit the pool or lake or take a long weekend trip. But the original Memorial Day was focused on honoring those who were lost during the Civil War. A tradition of reflection and appreciation that endures to this day. 

And while we’re always first to cannonball into kicking off summer, we’re also always mindful of the true meaning and reason for Memorial Day. So, buckle up for a quick look back at the origins of Memorial Day 

Communities Battle to Honor American Heroes 

Waterloo, New York gets official credit for being the birthplace of Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day in 1868. But many other communities claimed to hold the first ceremony that honored American military heroes. Among them were: 

  • Doylestown, Pennsylvania 
  • Grafton, West Virginia 
  • Rochester, Wisconsin 

Nothing wrong with a little friendly competition. Especially when it comes to American cities competing to be known for saluting soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for this country. Hopefully, we will see even more infectious gratitude going forward. So that families of these brave men and women know this country has not forgotten or forsaken them. 

Memorial Day Changes 

In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act to establish Memorial Day as the last Monday in May. The change went into effect in 1971 and also began to signify the unofficial beginning of summer.  

Towns across the U.S. host Memorial Day parades incorporating military personnel, members of veteran organizations, and patriotic symbols. Each year a wreath is placed on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. You may be unaware that this memorial is under the protection of service members 24 hours a day. 

But you don’t have to leave your town to find military gravesites which are often identified on the headstone. Flowers are welcome on Memorial Day as well as the other 364 days we enjoy the freedom provided by these brave guardians. 

Zips and Supporting Military Families 

Before you hit the highway. Zips Car Wash wants to mention some of their partners in supporting our Military and their families this Memorial Day and beyond. ZIPS has partnered with both Carry The Load and Operation Homefront over the last year to do more for those who have given so much.  

Carry the Load 
This committed organization brings attention to members of the military, veterans, first responders, and their families with a Memorial Day march through multiple cities across the US. Their National Relay is a 32-day campaign with five routes covering an incredible 20,000 miles across 48 states and they encourage Americans of all ages to take part! Learn more about their mission here. 

Operation Homefront 

On Veteran’s Day of 2021, ZIPS donated $10,000 to support Operation Homefront’s mission to build strong, stable, and secure military families so they can thrive in the communities they’ve worked so hard to protect. In 2022, ZIPS team members supported the Military Child of the Year program by serving on the judging panel for this year’s recipients.  

Enjoy this Memorial Day safely with your family, friends, and communities. And don't forget to take a moment to remember that the freedoms we all enjoy today are because of the service and sacrifice of so many brave Americans over the past 246 years. Better yet, join Zips Car Wash in supporting organizations like Carry the Load in your community. And remember, sometimes showing up and participating is just as meaningful as a monetary donation.