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The History of Memorial Day + The National Parks Open for the May 25th Holiday

 

Did you know that Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day? To honor fallen soldiers, loved ones and mourners alike would decorate the graves of soldiers with flags, flowers and wreaths. In 1868, General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic decreed that May 30 would be a nationwide day of commemoration for more than half a million soldiers who lost their lives during the Civil War.

During its first year, more than 27 states adopted the holiday. As time passed (nearly a century), the holiday expanded to commemorate all U.S. military personnel who have lost their lives during service. The holiday was moved from May 30 to the last Monday of May in 1968, when the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968 went into effect. Memorial Day became an official federal holiday in 1971.

 

History of Memorial Day
Postcards from The National Museum of American History: Warshaw Collection of Business Americana – Civil War Archives Center

THE HISTORY
The history of Decoration Day is riddled with legend. The U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs recognizes nearly 25 places claim the origin of the holiday. To this day, cities across the south hold steadfast that they were the originators of the holiday – and they all might be right. The United States Library of Congress explains, “Southern women decorated the graves of soldiers even before the Civil War’s end. Records show that by 1865, Mississippi, Virginia, and South Carolina all had precedents for Memorial Day.” No matter the holiday’s fascinating origin, on this Memorial Day of 2020, we honor the fallen men and women who serve our country.

 

 

THE NATIONAL PARKS OPEN FOR MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND
While states across the nation are opening back up, we figured you might be itching to get your RVs back on the road. If you’re following CDC guidelines and heading out into nature during Memorial Day weekend, below is a list of the National Parks that will be open. NPS.GOV has asked that before visiting a park, you visit the park status (click here) for any additional updates.

– Badlands National Park: Camping open, amenities limited
– Biscayne National Park: Camping closed, amenities closed
– Bryce Canyon National Park: Camping closed, amenities limited
– Capitol Reef National Park: Camping open, amenities closed
– Cuyahoga Valley National Park: Camping closed, amenities limited
– Denali National Park: Camping closed, amenities closed
– Everglades National Park: Camping beach only, amenities closed
– Gates of the Arctic National Park: Camping open, amenities limited
– Glacier Bay National Park: Backcountry camping only, amenities closed
– Grand Canyon National Park: Camping closed, amenities limited
– Grand Teton National Park: Camping closed, amenities limited
– Great Basin National Park: Camping closed, amenities limited
– Great Sand Dunes National Park: Camping closed, amenities closed
– Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Camping closed, amenities limited
– Hot Springs National Park: Camping closed, amenities open
– Indiana Dunes National Park: Camping closed, amenities closed
– Joshua Tree National Park: Camping open, amenities limited
– Katmai National Park: Backcountry camping only, amenities closed
– Kenai Fjords National Park: Camping open, amenities limited
– Kobuk Valley National Park: Camping closed, amenities limited
– Lake Clark National Park: Camping open, amenities closed
– Mammoth Cave National Park: Camping closed, amenities closed
– Mount Rainier National Park: Backcountry camping only, amenities closed
– Olympic National Park: Camping closed, amenities closed
– Pinnacles National Park: Camping open, amenities closed
– Redwood National Park: Camping closed, amenities limited
– Saguaro National Park: Camping closed, amenities limited
– Theodore Roosevelt National Park: Camping closed, amenities closed
– Voyageurs National Park: Camping closed, amenities closed
– Wind Cave National Park: Camping closed, amenities closed
– Yellowstone National Park: Camping closed, amenities closed
– Zion National Park: Camping closed, amenities closed

NOTE:
Some National Parks have opened and quickly re-closed due to overcrowding. This list is accurate as of Wednesday, May 20, 2020. Click here to double-check the status of your park before you hop in your RV this Memorial Day weekend.

Looking for a fun recipe for the holiday weekend? Check out our recipe for the Easiest and Cheesiest Campfire Snack! Did you purchase your forever home from La Mesa RV? We want to hear from you! Leave us a comment in the section below for a chance to feature your story on our blog.

 

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