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Boulder’s Bolder Memorial Day: Holiday, History, Hot Dogs and Hoorahs!

What IS Memorial Day?

Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, is a federal holiday in the United States for honoring and mourning the military personnel who have died in the performance of their military duties. We also celebrate the service of all those who have served and thank them for their service. The holiday was born out of the Civil War, which claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history and required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries.

The practice of decorating soldiers’ graves with flowers dates back to antiquity, but in the United States, it was first widely observed on May 30, 1868, when General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance. The date was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle.

During the late 19th century, Memorial Day was observed on May 30 by many communities across the nation, particularly in the North. Southern states honored their dead on separate days until after World War I, when the holiday evolved to commemorate American military personnel who died in all wars, not just the Civil War.

In 1971, Memorial Day became an official federal holiday, observed on the last Monday in May, creating a three-day weekend for federal employees. It remains a day for visiting cemeteries and memorials, participating in parades, and reflecting on the sacrifices of those who have served.

Memorial Day Events in Boulder: Where to Celebrate and Reflect

As we approach Memorial Day, it’s important to take a moment to honor the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Boulder, with its rich community spirit and appreciation for history, offers a variety of events that blend solemn observances with festive activities. Whether you’re looking to attend a traditional ceremony, participate in a parade, or enjoy a community gathering, there’s something for everyone to both celebrate and reflect on this significant day.

1. Boulder Memorial Day Parade**

Date and Time: Monday, May 27, 10:00 AM
Location:  Pearl Street Mall

The annual Memorial Day Parade on Pearl Street Mall is a cherished tradition in Boulder. The parade features marching bands, veterans’ groups, local organizations, and community members coming together to honor those who have served. It’s a vibrant event filled with patriotic music, waving flags, and heartfelt tributes. Arrive early to secure a good spot along the parade route and enjoy the festivities.

2. Veterans Memorial Ceremony**

Date and Time: Monday, May 27, 11:30 AM
Location:  Boulder Municipal Building, 1777 Broadway

Following the parade, join the Veterans Memorial Ceremony at the Boulder Municipal Building. This solemn event includes a wreath-laying ceremony, speeches from local dignitaries and veterans, and a moment of silence to honor the fallen. It’s a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by our servicemen and women and a time for the community to come together in reflection and gratitude.

3. Boulder Creek Festival**

Date and Time: Saturday, May 25 – Monday, May 27, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Location:* Boulder Creek Corridor

The Boulder Creek Festival is a beloved Memorial Day weekend tradition, offering a mix of family-friendly activities, live music, local food vendors, and arts and crafts. While it’s a festive event, there are also opportunities to pay tribute to veterans, including special performances and booths dedicated to veterans’ organizations. Enjoy the lively atmosphere, but also take a moment to reflect on the true meaning of the holiday.

4. Chautauqua Park Memorial Day Picnic**

Date and Time: Monday, May 27, 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Location:  Chautauqua Park, 900 Baseline Road

Gather with friends and family at Chautauqua Park for a Memorial Day picnic. Bring your own food or purchase from local food trucks while enjoying the stunning views of the Flatirons. The picnic will feature live music, lawn games, and activities for children. It’s a wonderful way to spend the afternoon, enjoying Boulder’s natural beauty and community spirit while remembering those who have served.

5. Bolder Boulder 10K Classic**

Date and Time: Monday, May 27, 7:00 AM
Location:  Boulder Reservoir, 5565 51st Street

How far IS 10k? 6.2 miles! For those looking to start the day with some exercise, the Bolder Boulder 10K Classic at Boulder Reservoir is a great option. This annual race is open to runners and walkers of all ages and abilities. The scenic course around the reservoir is a beautiful backdrop for a day of remembrance. Proceeds from the race support local veterans’ charities, making it a meaningful way to contribute to the community.

The Bolder Boulder 10K race traditionally ends in Folsom Field, the football stadium at the University of Colorado Boulder. This iconic finish line adds to the excitement and celebration of the event, as runners complete their race with a final lap inside the stadium, often cheered on by thousands of spectators. This year the celebration of the Race and of Memorial Day will include a fly over by Colorado Air National Guard F-16 jets over Folsom Field. The fly-over is scheduled for 12:07 PM today.

6. Flag Placement at Green Mountain Cemetery**

Date and Time: Sunday, May 26, 9:00 AM
Location: Green Mountain Cemetery, 290 20th Street

Join local scouts and community volunteers for the annual flag placement at Green Mountain Cemetery. This touching event involves placing American flags on the graves of veterans, ensuring that each one is honored. It’s a humbling experience and a powerful way to teach younger generations about the importance of Memorial Day.

Memorial Day in Boulder offers a blend of reflective and celebratory events, each providing an opportunity to honor the sacrifices of our veterans. Whether you’re attending a parade, participating in a ceremony, or enjoying a community picnic, take time to remember the true meaning of the holiday. Let’s come together as a community to celebrate and reflect on this important day. Our hearts are with the families, friends, and communities of those who have lived and died in the service of their Country.

For more details on any of these events, be sure to check local listings and event organizers’ websites. Happy Memorial Day, Boulder!

Lenny Lensworth Frieling

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