14 Memorial Day Facts As We Had Into The Long Weekend

As we had into the long weekend that traditionally marks the beginning of the summer, it can be easy to forget that Monday is an important holiday – one on which we should all make an effort to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. But how much do you actually know about this significant holiday? Probably not that much…so let’s get up to speed, shall we?

  1. Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day and was meant to honor the Union and the Confederate soldiers who died during the American Civil War
  2. The name was legally changed to Memorial Day in 1967 and now honors all American soldiers who died while serving in the military.
  3. It didn’t became a federal holiday until 1971.     
  4. Memorial Day was originally always on May 30th. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1971 moved it to the final Monday in May.
  5. For more than 20 years until his death in 2012, Hawaiian Senator and decorated World War II veteran Daniel Inouye introduced legislation at the start of every Congressional term to remind Americans that the holiday’s purpose is to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
  6. It’s believe that the first Memorial Day was celebrated on May 5, 1866 , when residents of Waterloo, New York, observe a holiday in honor of all who died during the Civil War.
  7. Or is that the real story? A year earlier, on May 1, 1865, more than 1,000 recently freed slaves, accompanied by regiments of the U.S. Colored Troops (including the Massachusetts 54th Infantry) and a handful of white Charleston residents, gathered at a former racetrack turned camp in the South Carolina city to dedicate a new, proper burial site for dead Union soldiers. The group sang hymns, gave readings and distributed flowers around the cemetery.
  8. Congress passed, and President Clinton signed, a law in 2000 that requires all Americans to stop what they are doing at 3pm on Memorial Day to remember and to honor those who have died serving the United States. So set your iPhone alarm to put down your beer and take a moment.
  9. The flag is supposed to be flown at half-mast until noon, and then raised to full mast until sunset on Memorial Day.
  10. Ahead of Memorial Day weekend, the 3rd U.S. Infantry place American flags on over 260,000 graves at Arlington National Cemetery.
  11. One old Memorial Day tradition was to eat a picnic while sitting on the ground of a cemetery.
  12. Another popular Memorial Day tradition, wearing a red poppy,  originated from a poem, In Flanders Fields, written by Lieutenant-Colonial John McCrae in 1915.
  13. In 1924, faced with a shortage of poppies, the first artificial poppy factory was opened in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania and employed out-of-work veterans. Today, veterans at Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities and veterans homes help assemble the poppies, which are distributed by veterans service organizations throughout the country.
  14. U.S. Casualties of War (via CNN)
    • Civil War – Approximately 620,000 Americans died.
    • World War I – 116,516 Americans died
    • World War II – 405,399 Americans died.
    • Korean War – 36,574 Americans died.
    • Vietnam Conflict – 58,220 Americans died.
    • Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm – 383 service members died.
    • Operation Iraqi Freedom – 4,410 service members died.
    • Operation New Dawn – 73 service members died.
    • Operation Enduring Freedom – 2,347 service members died.
    • Operation Freedom’s Sentinel – 69 service members have died as of May 2019.
    • Operation Inherent Resolve – 76 service members have died as of May 2019.

If making a donation is more your thing than a moment of silence, check out Children of Fallen Patriots or The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors.


  1. ‘….As we HAD into the long weekend”? Does no one proofreed this carp? But, realistically, it probably isn’t werth the efort.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: