memorial day

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

As rain fell over Central Texas, people gathered to remember those who have died in war.

At the Central Texas State Veterans Cemetery in Killeen, near Fort Hood, retired Command Sgt. Major Elijah King, Jr. stopped to put flags and flowers by a memorial to soldiers in his brigade who died in Iraq during the first deployment.

"It’s important for Americans to remember those who have given their lives, who paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms that we enjoyed," King said. "If you haven’t served it’s difficult to understand."

(This post was last updated at 2:17 p.m. ET.)

Under the cover of darkness and on the eve of Memorial Day, President Obama landed at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan for an unannounced visit with U.S. troops.

After a concert from country music star Brad Paisley, Obama spoke before a rally of about 3,000 American troops. Currently, there are 32,000 Americans currently serving in Afghanistan.

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Over a thousand Central Texans gathered on Monday to honor local men and women who lost their lives in service to the U.S. at the Georgetown-Williamson County Veterans Memorial in the Sun City Community Center.

At the memorial, the Texas Army National Guard’s 36th Infantry Division Band played for residents and veterans, with Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III attending the ceremony as a special guest.

Joy Diaz for KUT News

Every Memorial Day we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of duty.

But Rick Smith doesn’t wait on any specific day of the year. He has made it his mission in life to honor the U.S. flag every morning and night – and plans on doing so for the rest of his life.

Most City of Austin offices are closed for Memorial Day – that includes libraries, museums and senior centers. But city pools will be open – along with city tennis centers and golf courses.

Other recreational activities – including the Zilker Botanical Garden and the Austin Nature and Science Center are also open.

Photos courtesy

Many people are enjoying a three-day weekend this Memorial Day. The City of Austin offices are closed, although city pools and golf courses are operating on a regular schedule today.

The Austin Animal Center is open today from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.  It’s holding an adoption special: $35 for all pets one year and older, over half-off its normal $75 fee. Pets five years and older are free. All pets are spayed/neutered, vaccinated and microchipped.

Some 400 kittens are currently at the shelter, a “record number” according to Animal Services Foster Coordinator Sarah Hammond. “The mild winter and the abundance of rain have made for an explosive kitten season,” Hammond says, exasperating the crowding at the animal center. The Austin Animal Center is located at 7201 Levander Loop.  

Image courtesy

Memorial Day 2012 Events

Central Texans have several opportunities today to honor veterans for their service. Ceremonies are being held at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin and at Veterans Memorial Plaza in Sun City in Georgetown.

The City of Austin is expecting between 2,500 and 3,000 runners to pound the pavement today for the Capital of Texas Triathlon. You might think you'll catch a break from traffic troubles because of lighter than usual holiday traffic, but the Triathlon is causing some downtown street closures until approximately 3 p.m.

Hitting the road or the water today? Make sure to take a look at our public safety tips and warnings this Memorial Day.

Image via

It wouldn’t be a major weekend in Austin without some downtown street closures.

Don’t worry, as KUT News has everything you need to know to navigate Austin this Memorial Day weekend.  

Sunday: As a precursor to Memorial Day’s Capital of Texas Triathlon, organizers are hosting a Doggie Du Dash and Kids K fun run – meaning the following streets will be closed:

Photo by KUT News

Austinites will flock to the city's numerous parks and waterways this weekend. We've put together a guide for what you need to know about rules and safety.

Watercraft Ban: Put Away that Motorized Surfboard!

If you’re planning to celebrate the long Memorial Day weekend on Lady Bird Lake, you'll need to leave your motorized surfboard at home. The Austin Police Department will be enforcing an annual ban on motorized personal watercraft – like jet skis – from sunset on Friday until sunrise on Tuesday.

Photo by By Daniel Reese for KUT News

Today marks the beginning of another "Click it or Ticket" campaign, a two-week undertaking by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to enforce seat belt usage. 

In Texas and across the country, law enforcement will be on the lookout for drivers and passengers shirking seatbelt laws, or whose children are improperly restrained. (Children under eight years must be in a child safety seat, unless they are taller than 4'9".) Citations run up to $250.

The NHTSA writes on its website that in the annual “Click It or Ticket” initiative, over three million tickets have been written over the last five years – a ticket every other second.

Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News

We’re still just 25 cents shy of the all-time gas price record for the Austin metro area, but the price for a gallon of regular unleaded dropped nine cents from this time last week.  

The latest fuel price report from AAA Texas says gas is selling for an average $3.72 in the Austin-San Marcos region. That compares with $3.81 last Thursday. The highest recorded average price was $3.975 back in July 2008.