May 30 1868, was the first Decoration Day, a day to remember the many soldiers who died in the American Civil War by decorating their graves with flowers. It officially became a national holiday called Memorial Day in 1971. Particularly, in periods of peace, the day became not just for remembering the fallen but for celebrating life.
For the Erie Basin Yacht Club, in the early 1900s, Decoration Day marked the start of the sailing season:
The Daily Standard Union, June 4 1904
“The Erie Basin Yacht Club opened its doors for the season on Decoration Day, 9 A. M., when the club flag was raised and Commodore Cooper declared the club formally opened for the season. After this the boats started their annual opening races, over the club course. The races were close and exciting, many winning on time allowance.
Following this there were clam chowder and other good things served to those present, after which there was a real good time...