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The vast majority of U.S. citizens living in Costa Rica know that Memorial Day is observed today.
- Voice of America Journal photo -

Published Monday, May 31, 2021

By the A.M. Costa Rica staff and wire services

The vast majority of U.S. citizens living in Costa Rica know that Memorial Day is observed today.

The national holiday commemorating the men and women who died while serving in the military is recognized every last Monday in the month of May.

In observance of the holiday, many people visit cemeteries and memorials. It is customary for volunteers to place American flags on each gravesite at national cemeteries.

The first time this federal holiday was commemorated was on May 5, 1866, in Waterloo, New York. This site was recognized by the presidential proclamation as the place where the tradition of remembering the fallen in combat and decorating the graves of the deceased was born.

In 2019, at the facilities of the United States Embassy located in Pavas, San José Province, the Peace Garden dedicated to the people who sacrificed their lives in the services of the United States of America was inaugurated.

In observance of Memorial Day, the Embassy and Consular Section will be closed today. The offices will open again on Tuesday, June 1, from 8 a.m. at 4:30 p.m.

Pre-pandemic, the American Legion Costa Rica held a Memorial Day Ceremony at Campo de Esperanza Cemetery in San Antonio de Escazu. Veterans conducted the traditional Scarlet Rose Ceremony with the reading of names of the departed and placing a rose on the Remembrance Stone. Members of the Marine Corps League Costa Rica, the U.S. Embassy Marine Detachment and expat residents would give speeches.

Last year, because of the pandemic all events were canceled. The veteran organizations suspended the main meetings "until this Virus is gone because as you know, we are some of the most vulnerable people, those of us that are up in years," Pat Kilburn, Commander of Costa Rica- American Legion said.

This year, while in Costa Rica the day will remain quiet for most expats living here, in the U.S. people began celebrating Memorial Day by hitting the roads and skies as they seek to cast off more than a year of pandemic restrictions and try to resume a sense of normalcy, according to the Voice of America Journal, VOA, the U.S. government news agency funded by the U.S. Congress.

Memorial Day is also seen as the unofficial start to summer and a time when people traditionally travel to campgrounds, beaches and state parks.
While travel suffered last year because of coronavirus restrictions, this year U.S. citizens are looking to get back to their pre-pandemic routines.

More than 1.8 million people went through U.S. airports on Thursday, and that number is expected to rise during the weekend.

The federal government and many state governments have relaxed mask mandates in many venues for people who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Now that a majority of Americans have received inoculations against the virus, many are seeking to engage in activities that they haven’t been able to do for the past year, including vacationing.

The U.S. travel group AAA expected a 60% jump in travel this Memorial Day weekend compared to last year, with 37 million Americans planning to travel at least 50 miles away from home, mostly by car. The travel boom comes despite higher prices for gasoline.

The Reuters news agency reported that the price index for traditional Memorial Day activities rose this year about 4.3%, faster than the overall consumer price index. It listed higher prices over pre-pandemic rates for cookout fare such as hamburgers and hot dogs, as well as higher prices for dinner and drinks, amusement parks, concerts and car rentals.

Prices are below pre-pandemic levels for airfare and hotels. Prices for many goods have been rising because of surging consumer demand as well as supply issues for both materials and labor.

U.S. President Joe Biden began the Memorial Day weekend by visiting an Air Force base in the eastern state of Virginia to thank U.S. troops for their service. Biden spoke of his late son Beau, who was a veteran, and told the service members, “You are the very best of what America has to offer."

The president also visited a rock-climbing gym in northern Virginia as the state lifted most of its covid-19 restrictions. Biden thanked Americans who have gotten vaccinated against covid-19 and said the country has “gone from pain and stagnation of a long, dark winter to an economy on the move.”

Some cities are hoping to continue to increase the number of vaccinated citizens even during the holiday. Beachgoers at Ocean City, Maryland, and three popular Jersey Shore spots will be able to get covid-19 vaccinations.

How are you celebrating Memorial Day in Costa Rica? We would like to know your thoughts on this story. Send your comments to

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