School is out, the snowbirds have once again migrated north, and the mass exodus to Southern California is looming—must be Memorial Day!  We Phoenicians bid a final goodbye to the possibility of 80 degree days and the beginning of the glorious summer months full of barbeques, pool parties, and vacations to help forget about melting trash cans, grounded flights, and heat stroke that also tend to accompany the summer months here in our little desert oasis.

Although we sometimes celebrate with parties, sales, and sleeping in, Memorial Day is more than a Monday off of work.  Since 1868 and the end of the Civil War, citizens have been coming together on Memorial Day to give thanks and pay respects to those who have served and died in wartime.  There are a number of different Memorial Day services happening around the Valley in commemoration of those who have given their lives in service to our country, including a service at Pioneer and Military Memorial Park.

If you’re looking for other fun things to check out this weekend, why not grab your fanciest swimsuit and head to Talking Stick Resort’s Release Pool Party featuring renowned EDM artists Kaskade and RL Grime on May 26th and 27th, respectively.  Marvel: so hot right now, right?  Check out Phoenix Fan Fusion at the Phoenix Convention Center from May 27th -29th.  Lions and tigers and… mermaids?!  Oh my!  Check out real and mythical sea life at the “Mermaid Magic” event at Odysea Aquarium, sure to “ahh” and inspire everyone, especially the little ones (with hair braiding and face painting too!).  Need other ideas?  A list of additional Memorial Weekend events can be found here.

Even if attending a somber service does not appeal to you, and you find yourself more attracted to EDM, comics, or mermaids, there are still ways that you can pay your respects on Memorial Day.  You can honor the countless people who have died protecting our country and its interests by preserving the rule of law and standing up for your Constitutional rights.  Need a refresher?  Here’s the Bill of Rights in its original text and a kid-friendly version in case you want to keep the education going now that school’s out.

If we have learned anything from the past, it is that this weekend can get as intense as the sun’s rays and folks have made decisions fueled by a number of influences—some better than others.  If you’ll be spending time with Jack, Johnnie, and Tito, please remember that DUI task forces will be in full swing along with increased patrols Valley-wide.  Holidays like Memorial Day tend to see an increase in DUI related arrests because of greater police presence, more alcohol-filled events, and time off of work.  Whether you choose to attend one of the events around the Valley, host your own pool party, or take the day off and relax, remember the best way to celebrate Memorial Day is safely!