Memorial Day: A Chance to Reflect

Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer, but it’s also an opportunity to honor those who have given their lives in service to this country.

The holiday started after the Civil War when veterans groups and women’s organizations in the North and South set aside Decoration Days to lay flowers on the graves of fallen soldiers. By World War II, the holiday had become better known as Memorial Day and was celebrated on May 30. It was moved to the last Monday in May in 1968.

So while it’s tempting to hang out at the pool for the three-day weekend, several area events make it easy to pause and remember the holiday’s roots.


On Sunday, May 28, An American Celebration: The Best of Broadway will be held at Koka Booth Amphitheatre, 8003 Regency Parkway. Gates open at 5:30 p.m., and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. Enjoy an evening of the best numbers from classic and current Broadway shows, featuring the Triangle Wind Ensemble and a salute to veterans. For a place at a table, tickets are $26. For a spot on the lawn, ticket prices for adults are $16 and $13 for students, active duty military with identification and seniors. Children under 12 are admitted free to the lawn.

On Monday, May 29, the town of Cary will host a Memorial Day Remembrance at Veteran’s Freedom Park, 1513 N. Harrison Ave. The free event begins at 2:30 p.m. with patriotic music from the Cary Town Band. Speakers include Chris Froeschner and David Cole, both United States Air Force (retired). Froeschner is vice president of operations for the USO of North Carolina, and Cole serves as director of the North Carolina Senior Care Council. For more, check out Memorial Day Remembrance at


On Friday, May 26, and Saturday, May 27, “Downrange: Voices from the Homefront” will be performed at the Raleigh Little Theatre, 301 Pogue St. Chapel Hill playwright Mike Wiley uses stories of real North Carolina families to explore the effect of deployment on those left behind. Tickets are $10 for adults; $5 for seniors, students, military or veterans.

On Monday, May 29, the annual Memorial Day Observance ceremony will take place at the Historic Oakwood Cemetery on 701 Oakwood Ave. The ceremony will begin at 4 p.m., honoring all deceased veterans and including music, tributes to the military and a speaker. Admission is free.

All over:

All veterans and active duty military can get a free hamburger at Hickory Tavern on Monday, May 29. All Hickory Tavern locations are participating, and a military ID is required.

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