Memorial Day in Coeur d'Alene

Summer doesn't officially start until June 21 (at 5:16p UTC to be technical), but for most Americans the unofficial start to Summer has become Memorial Day.

With most public workplaces, and many private businesses closed for a three day weekend, we find time to spend with our families and friends taking a little mini-vacation and revel in the pleasant late-Spring weather. Memorial Day events abound in Coeur d'Alene, even as we remember the reason this holiday exists.

Photo Courtesy of 29k Productions

Memorial Day began as a day to remember the Union and Confederate troops who had fallen in the Civil War. After the first World War the day was extended to honor Americans who have died in all wars. Initially called "Decoration Day," the holiday gradually became known as Memorial Day, which became more common after World War II and was eventually declared the official name of the holiday in 1967. The Uniform Holidays Bill in 1968 moved the traditional May 30 celebration of Memorial Day to the last Monday of May, making it a three-day weekend every year.

Throughout the United States, Memorial Day is observed in a variety of ways, including visiting cemeteries and veterans memorials, flying the flag at half mast from dawn until noon, and taking part in the national moment of remembrance at 3:00p local time.

Other events often coincide with Memorial day, taking advantage of the three-day weekend.

Photo by 29k Productions, LLC

In Coeur d'Alene there are several traditional and non-traditional celebrations throughout the city. Typically these include a morning ceremony in Veterans Park at Third and Front Streets, concluding with a wreath tossed into the water by the Third Street Docks to honor Navy seamen lost at sea. Other ceremonies are held at St. Thomas Cemetery, Forest Cemetery, and Coeur d'Alene Memorial Gardens Cemetery. At 3:00p, citizens are asked to observe the traditional national moment of silence. On the Saturday preceding Memorial Day, local veterans groups and family members place flags at the graves of deceased service members.

Many members of the Coeur d'Alene community take time out of their weekend to visit the Kootenai County Veterans Memorial Plaza near the Kootenai County Courthouse.

Unfortunately, many water activities on Lake Coeur d'Alene may be curtailed this Memorial Day weekend, because the lake is currently in the action flood stage according to the National Weather Service, and is expected to be firmly in the flood stage by Wednesday May 25. This means the entire lake will be a no wake zone, which will be firmly enforced by the Kootenai County Sheriffs Department. If flooding occurs the lake will have a speed limit of 5mph. That doesn't mean your weekend will be spoiled though! There are plenty of land activities going on.

Memorial Day weekend is a great opportunity to spend time with your family and have a picnic in a local park. Parks that are equipped with splash pads begin operating these from 11:00a to 7:00p on Memorial Day and continue operating them through Labor Day.

The Friday before Memorial Day 2011 will be the first Warriors Memorial Day Classic, in which North Idaho Warriors Baseball hosts more than 20 other baseball teams at the Canfield Sports Complex.

The Coeur d'Alene Marathon is typically run on the Sunday preceding Memorial Day. It falls on May 29 this year. The marathon starts at Riverstone Park, goes all the way out to Higgins Point, and returns . It's a beautiful course.

In addition to other events, many local campgrounds count Memorial Day as their opening weekend, so it's a good time to head out to your favorite camping spot and spend some time in nature.

With gas prices hovering near $4.00 per gallon, and expected to rise in anticipation of the travel season kicked off by Memorial Day, it's not a bad idea to stay close to home and enjoy some family and friends time in Coeur d'Alene.

Be sure to keep tabs on our news for information about the flooding of Lake Coeur d'Alene and how it may affect your plans for the weekend. And as always, LoveCdA will have an events calendar up with the entire week's events!

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