Weston’s Memorial Day Past and Present
Memorial Day has been celebrated in the United States since 1868, three years after the end of the Civil War. At first named Decoration Day, or the day to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers in the Civil War, it was expanded after World War I to include and honor the dead from all wars. In 1971, Memorial Day became an official national holiday celebrated on the last Monday in May–it is believed that the end of May was chosen in 1868 because it was a time of year when flowers were blooming in all of the US.
In Massachusetts, Memorial Day became a legal holiday in 1881 and in Weston, it was once one of the primary holidays celebrated by the whole town. Activities included speakers and a parade of schoolchildren and Civil War veterans from Town Hall to bring flowers to the cemeteries. In 1905, the parade was led by an 18-piece band and in 1906, children began carrying potted plants instead of cut flowers (look! we were green even back then). [credit: From Farm Town to Suburb by Pamela Fox].
This year, Memorial Day celebrations will look a little different, yet the meaning will be the same. The Memorial Day committee is led by Beverly Dillaway (a long-time Memorial Day volunteer) and Rebecca Loveys, who volunteered this year. The Memorial Day Committee is appointed by the Moderator and has in years past numbered many more than two.
“Our Weston Memorial Day observation will be scaled down this year, but it will still be meaningful. It felt important that we don’t let the day pass by unnoticed, and that we honor those who lost their lives for our country,” said Rebecca Loveys. “I remember taking our kids to the Weston Memorial Day event a few years ago, and it was so lovely and special; it made a lasting impression on me as a relative newcomer to Weston. “
While there will not be a parade this year, the importance of gathering as a community and honoring those who have fallen has not changed. Community members are encouraged to bring the whole family.
“My kids loved riding their big wheels in the procession with all the “big kids” and scouts and seeing all the flags and folks in uniform. It also gave us the opportunity to explain to them the meaning of the holiday. It’s much more impactful for children to experience things – vs read about them – and seeing all those people come together to acknowledge and express gratitude – made a lasting impression on them too. My kids are also starting to learn that Weston is run by a whole lot of volunteers!”
The event schedule can be found on the town website. Gather and remember, Weston.