SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Memorial Day started early for many veterans who boarded a bus, accompanying members of American Legion Post 253 and VFW Post 4589 to visit military gravesides and memorials throughout the borough as well as neighboring Jamesburg and East Brunswick. By mid-morning, the bus stopped at Spotswood's Memorial Walkway for a special 10 a.m. Memorial Day ceremony that included the unveiling of a Battlefield Cross Memorial donated by borough residents Travis and Grace Fryzowicz.
When mid-afternoon arrived, it was time for Spotswood's annual Memorial Day Parade to take its stroll down Main Street. Beginning at Schweitzer Mauduet, the parade made its way along Main Street, turning at Devoe Avenue and concluding at American Legion Post 253. Residents lined both sides of Main Street and Devoe Avenue to enjoy traditional parade highlights like bagpipes, floats, classic cars, motorcycles, fire trucks, emergency vehicles and of course to collect the candy tossed by parade participants. The Spotswood Baseball and Softball League had a large contingent of marchers as did Cub Scout Pack 35 and the borough's local Girl Scout troop.
Memorial Day began in 1868 and was known as Decoration Day. Decoration Day began after the Civil War as a way to honor the fallen soldiers on both sides. During World War I, Decoration Day evolved to include fallen soldiers in all conflicts and became more commonly known as Memorial Day. Initially, it was always celebrated on May 30 because that was the date of the first Decoration Day.
In 1968, Congress enacted the Uniform Monday Act, which moved Memorial Day and other federal holidays to a Monday in order to give federal employees a three-day weekend. Ever since 1971, Memorial Day has been celebrated on the last Monday in May. While Memorial Day is a time to honor fall soldiers, the holiday also signals the unofficial start of summer.