PHOENIX — Memorial Day is Monday, May 27.
It is a day where we remember those who served and gave the ultimate sacrifice.
It was originally called "Decoration Day" and founded by the Grand Army of the Republic, a Union organization, in 1868 "as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers." Did you know it wasn't declared a national holiday until 1971?
A handful of ceremonies and remembrances are planned around the Valley. We've listed those below.
For others, the three-day weekend marks the unofficial start to summer (which technically isn't until June 21) with barbecues, pool time, and backyard games. If you're looking for something to do, we've included a few weekend events and parties that are going on.
University of Phoenix flag display (Tuesday - Friday, May 21-24)
Thousands of flags -- totaling 15,000 -- were planted on the lawn of the University of Phoenix campus near the Interstate 10 and 32nd Street. They have been planted to spell out the phrase: Their Legacy Lives On. However, the flags will only be there for a short time. Volunteers will begin taking them down on Friday, May 24, where they will then be donated.
Address: 4045 S. Riverpoint Pkwy., Phoenix, AZ 85040.
Gilbert Historical Society's Memorial Day Ceremony (May 27)
Hosted by the Gilbert Historical Society and the American Legion Post 39, the Memorial Day ceremony will take place on the lawn of HD South Building, also known as the Gilbert Historical Museum. The hour-long ceremony will start at 9 a.m. and include a flag ceremony, the laying of the wreaths, recognition of veterans military service, music from the Ahwatukee Foothill Concert Band, and remarks from Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels and USAF Retired Colonel, Cliff B. Stansell. It is a free event, and people are encouraged to bring lawn chairs as seating is limited.
Address: HD South, 10 S. Gilbert Rd., Gilbert, AZ 85296. More information.
Anthem Community Council's “A Day of Remembrance” ceremony (May 27)
The Daisy Mountain Veterans, VFW Post 12031 and American Legion Post 128 will host a Memorial Day ceremony at Anthem's Veterans Memorial on Monday, May 27. The service, which is scheduled to start at 9 a.m., will feature Rear Admiral William Putnam, United States Navy (retired) as its keynote speaker, a POW/MIA ceremony, and performances from the Musical Theater of Anthem and the Arizona Veterans Band. The ceremony is expected to last between 45-60 minutes. There is a parking lot, but parking is limited. The closest lot is the
Address: Anthem Community Park, 41703 N Gavilan Peak Pkwy., Anthem, AZ 85086. More information.
Pioneer & Military Memorial Park (May 27)
The Pioneers Cemetery Association and the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department will host a Memorial Day remembrance ceremony on May 27 at Pioneer & Military Memorial Park. The ceremony starts at 9 a.m. Marshall Shore, the unofficial state "hip" historian, will emcee. There will be guided tours of the Seven Historic Cemeteries, a display of Victorian-era fashion, and local groups dressed in full regalia.
Address: 1317 W. Jefferson St., Phoenix, AZ 85007. More information.
Litchfield Park Memorial Day Ceremony
The City of Litchfield Park will hold a 30-minute Memorial Day ceremony at the WW II Memorial on the west side of Litchfield Elementary School. There will be patriotic music, a floral tribute, the playing of "Taps," a prayer and moment of silence, and a memorial presentation. The ceremony will start at 7 a.m. Parking is available at the school.
Address: 255 E Wigwam Boulevard, Litchfield Park, AZ 85340. More information.
OTHER WEEKEND ACTIVITIES AROUND THE VALLEY
Summer Kick-off Party at LUSTRE Rooftop Bar
LUSTRE, the rooftop bar on the third floor of the Kimpton Palomar Phoenix hotel in downtown Phoenix, will host its "Summer Kick-off Party" on Saturday, May 25 from 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. There will be live music, craft cocktails, private cabanas for rent, and grilled barbecue dishes. There is no cover charge. More information.
The Scottsdale resort is hosting its events over the Memorial Day weekend for guests. The resort will have a Bacardi Lime Launch Party at its Turquoise Pool with a Bacardi booth and cocktail specials throughout the weekend. On Saturday, May 25, the resort will have a cookout with burgers and hot dogs on the Studio Lawn. At 8 p.m. the resort will screen the movie "Top Gun" at the pool. There is no additional cost for resort guests, aside from food and drink. Those not staying at the resort can buy a day-of "Resort Pass" for $30-$60. More information.
Maya Day + Nightclub
The Scottsdale day club will host CID on Friday, May 24, its in-house DJs on May 25, and Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike on Sunday, May 26. More information.
Release Pool Party at Talking Stick Resort: Yellow Claw & Steve Aoki
Those looking to start summer early can hit the pool at Talking Stick Resort. Yellow Claw, Steve Aioki and Lost Kings will perform at the resort's "Release Pool Party" over the Memorial Day weekend. Yellow Claw performs on Saturday, May 26, and Steve Aioki and Lost Kings perform on Sunday, May 27. This is a 21+ event. Tickets are $30-$35. A weekend pass is $55. More information.
From Saturday, May 25 to Monday, May 27, the Mesa entertainment complex is running a Memorial Day promotion. They've discounted their "Pro" package to $25 (it normally costs $45.50), which includes an all-you-can-eat buffet (salad, pizza, pasta, dessert), one game of bowling, mini-bowling and a $10 "Fun" card. More information.
Phoenix Fan Fusion
Embrace your inner geek with other pop-culture fans at Phoenix Fan Fusion (formerly Phoenix Comic Con). The three-day convention will be at the Phoenix Convention Center, May 23-26. Daily passes start at $10 for kids and $20 for adults. Weekend passes are $85. Some of the celebrity guests that will be there for photos and autographs include Jeff Goldblum, Elijah Wood, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Billy Dee Williams, Matthew Lewis, and Catherine Tate. More information.
Splash Bash at Odysea in the Desert
Are you looking for a family-friendly activity for the weekend? Odysea in the Desert is hosting "Splash Bash" over the Memorial Day weekend, May 25-27. There will be foam parties, water slides, a fire truck where people will be able to spray the hose and help extinguish a fire, and a "water squirter battle zone." The event happens each day from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Admission is $5 per day or $10 for a weekend pass. More information.
Memorial Day Weekend at Salt River Tubing
Those looking for some fun in the sun over the Memorial Day weekend may want to float down the Salt River. The first 500 tubers will receive a free patriotic lei. They will also be passing out special bags to help collect plastic and other trash along the river. Tube rentals are $17, plus taxes and fees. More information.