The nation honored its war dead at thousands of ceremonies large and small on Memorial Day, including a crowd of 15,000 at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, while millions of Americans welcomed the beginning of the summer season.
A holiday outing in Tillatoba, Miss., was hit by tragedy when a 16-foot boat carrying eight people capsized, killing six young women aboard the overloaded craft as well as a man who tried to rescue them, authorities said.The operator of the boat said the occupants were enjoying a slow "joy ride," splashing water on each other, when the accident occurred Monday afternoon.
A total of at least 340 people died on the nation's highways as of midnight Monday, according to a state-by-state count.
The National Safety Council had estimated that the long weekend would claim 380 to 480 lives in traffic accidents. Last year, 416 people died, the Chicago-based council said.
Although most of the country enjoyed sunny holiday weather, a snowstorm hit the West on Sunday, dumping up to 10 inches of snow on southern Utah. Up to 6 inches of snow fell in Wyoming, where rangers closed large sections of Yellowstone National Park.
Other memorial events around the nation included:
- A wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington Cemetery in Virginia, across the Potomac River from the nation's capital, that drew 4,000 people.
- In Boston, a cannon on the 190-year-old USS Constitution was fired 21 times.
- In Gettysburg, Pa., retired Gen. William C. Westmoreland, who commanded U.S. troops in Vietnam and whose ancestors fought for the Confederacy, said the wounds of the Civil War have not yet healed. The three-day Battle of Gettysburg and other Civil War confrontations played a crucial role in the evolution of the United States, he said.