memorial day putinbay

One of the most popular weekends of the year at Put-in-Bay, Memorial Day is a three day weekend that many families enjoy as an end of school year and start of summer vacation. Put-in-Bay’s most popular entertainers return to the island this weekend, many with multiple shows!

Make sure to book your hotel, house, and condo reservations early so you don’t miss out on the fun! Many hotels require a 3-night minimum for the holiday weekend. The major home and condo rental locations usually require just 2.

Memorial Day Services honoring our Veterans are held at the Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial visitor’s center plaza, with a full agenda of events planned for the whole weekend, especially Saturday. On Monday there will be a Memorial Day Parade featuring antique and classic cars, and also the usual Sunday Skip Duggan Car Club’s Classic Car Parade at 2:30 PM.

Insider Hint

Sundays at Put-in-Bay are one of the BEST days to visit and stay on the island! Whether you are adding on a Sunday to a weekend reservation, or starting a nice family midweek stay, Sundays offer usually the same entertainment as the weekend, but at a more mellow pace.

A Short and Sweet History of Memorial Day

Memorial Day was first observed as “Decoration Day” on May 30, 1868, in Virginia’s Arlington National Cemetery, three years after the end of the Civil War, though it was initially established on May 5 by the Grand Army of the Republic. John A. Logan, a general in the Union Army, declared a date change so that flowers would be in bloom to decorate the gravesites. The point of Decoration Day was to remember the lives of both the Union and Confederate soldiers lost in the Civil War; as a result, during the first Decoration Day ceremony, attended by the Ulysses S. Grant, flowers were left at the graves of the dead, hymns were sung, and prayers were said.

Various states have claimed that they were the first to observe a version of Decoration Day prior to the official 1868 ceremony, with 1866 being the date of such a ceremony cemented in stone in an Illinois cemetery. In early days, confederate soldiers were the ones who received flowers on their graves in the Southern states. But, the day still became an emblem of remembering what soldiers did for the country – a tradition that carried on over centuries and into its new iteration,

Decoration Day only observed those who died in the Civil War until after World War I, when it was expanded to include any and all soldiers who died fighting in American wars. In 1971, Congress made a national holiday called Memorial Day and sought to officially celebrate this occasion on the last Monday in May. Because of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, created that same year, the official date of Memorial Day no longer mattered; as long as it was the last Monday in May, those who served and died were honored.

Memorial Day Roots Formalized

The battle over where the first Memorial Day was also put to rest five years prior in 1966; President Lyndon Johnson concluded that the official birthplace of Memorial Day was in Waterloo, New York, though certain states stick to their guns on when and where the first observance of the holiday took place.

Now, Memorial Day is often a time where families and friends are seen barbecuing outdoors or celebrating the initiative of the Summer season. But it remains a day to honor soldiers and armed forces as much as ever before.