Johnson County offices closed May 29 for Memorial Day

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is coming up this Monday, May 29. Johnson County Government administrative offices, libraries and health clinics will be closed on this day, in observance of the holiday. Additionally, transit services will not be in operation.

Johnson County Park and Recreation District parks and trails will be open on Memorial Day during regular park hours. Tomahawk Hills and Heritage Park golf courses will also be open during regular hours. Ernie Miller Nature Center will be closed Sunday, May 28 and Monday, May 29.

On Memorial Day, we recognize the service members who have died in American wars. The holiday provides an extended weekend for many, and it’s also an opportunity to honor those who gave their lives serving our country.

Celebrating Memorial Day in Johnson County

Gold Star Families Memorial Monument in park with wreath

The Gold Star Families Memorial Monument at Veterans Memorial Park in Olathe

There are several ways to celebrate Memorial Day in Johnson County. You can make a visit to the Gold Star Families Memorial Monument at Veterans Memorial Park in Olathe, which recognizes families who have lost loved ones in service to our country.

The Overland Park Lions Club raises more than 450 American flags along Metcalf Avenue eight times a year and Memorial Day weekend is one of them. The Overland Park Host Lions Club is a local chapter of Lions International, the largest community service organization.

These events are also taking place on May 29:

  • Memorial Day Service at Veterans Memorial Park: The Olathe American Legion Earl Collier Post 153’s Memorial Day service begins at 11 a. m. at Veterans Memorial Park, 1025 South Harrison St. Featured speaker will be Kansas Senator Robert Olson. There will be hot dogs and chips after the service.
  • Memorial Day Service of Remembrance: The annual Memorial Day Service of Remembrance will also be taking place at 11 a.m. It will be held at the Johnson County Funeral Chapel and Memorial Gardens, 11200 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park.

How Memorial Day came to be

A Decoration Day service in a military cemetery in the 1800s

A Decoration Day memorial service in Kearney, Nebraska in 1910

Originally known as Decoration Day, a Memorial Day observance began on May 5, 1866, when Henry Welles, a drugstore owner from Waterloo, New York, suggested a day to honor soldiers killed in the Civil War. Wreaths, flags, flowers and crosses were placed upon the graves of the dead, and city shops were closed.

Two years later, Maj. Gen. John Alexander Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, issued General Order No. 11 on May 5 to establish Decoration Day as a memorial celebration for Union and Confederate soldiers who survived the Civil War to decorate the graves of comrades with flags at Arlington National Cemetery.

Decoration Day was initially observed on May 30, a date chosen by General Logan. It would gradually become Memorial Day and evolved to honor American service members who died in all wars

In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, establishing the last Monday in May as Memorial Day. The change, which went into effect in 1971, created a three-day holiday weekend for federal employees and declared Memorial Day a federal holiday.

All - General