NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Memorial Day is supposed to be about mourning the nation’s fallen service members, but it’s come to anchor the unofficial start of summer and a long weekend of discounts on anything from mattresses to lawn mowers.
Auto club AAA said in a travel forecast that this holiday weekend could be “one for the record books, especially at airports,” with more than 42 million Americans projected to travel 50 miles (80 kilometers) or more. Federal officials said Friday that the number of air travelers had already hit a pandemic-era high.
But for Manuel Castañeda Jr., 58, the day will be a quiet one in Durand, Illinois, outside Rockford. He lost his father, a U.S. Marine who served in Vietnam, in an accident in California while training other Marines in 1966.
“Memorial Day is very personal,” said Castañeda, who also served in the Marines and Army National Guard, from which he knew men who died in combat. “It isn’t just the specials. It isn’t just the barbecue.”