One of the first recognized Memorial Days was held in Waterloo, NY on May 5, 1866, and a hundred years later President Lyndon B. Johnson officially labeled the village the “Birthplace of Memorial Day.”
If you really look at the history, a lot of towns all over the place started having annual “memorial” days after the Civil War ended, but Waterloo had the most consistent one as well as some well-connected participants.
Blah blah REGARDLESS, all this week the whole town has been FREAKING. OUT.
Dressed up in its prettiest red white and blue princess outfit, Waterloo’s been telling anyone who comes within earshot that TODAY IS ITS SPECIAL DAY TODAY IS ITS SPECIAL DAY.
Waterloo is also of course home to the National Memorial Day Museum, which is appropriately decked out in its finest for the coming events.
This year’s theme for “Celebrate Commemorate” is “Welcome Home” to honor returning troops. There’ve been activities going on all weekend: a village-wide family reunion, a breakfast buffet, concerts, wagon rides and a comedy marching troupe.
My most beloved methods for honoring Memorial Day have historically included getting a tan, sleeping off a hangover, or, if I’m extremely ambitious, eating potato salad and barbecued chicken, but it’s nice to know that Waterloo’s been picking up the slack all this time.