Today is Memorial Day. Many of us will spend it on the nearest lake, with friends and family, or attend an event. We look forward to the day, as with many US Holidays it gives us a day off from the grind of work. We know it’s a time to say thanks to those who have fought for our freedoms but do we really understand?
Here are a few facts about Memorial Day you may not know. I’ll admit, I learned a few things, perhaps you will too.
- Memorial Day was first known as Decoration Day – designated the 30th of May,1868, for the purpose of strewing with flowers or decorating the graves of those who died in defense of their country.
- Memorial Day was once celebrated on May the 30th, no matter the day of the week.The Uniform Holidays Act moved the holiday from a fixed date on the calendar to a designated Monday (last one in May) to create long weekends for federal employees. The bill went into effect three years later in 1971.
- The Civil War was the deadliest in history with approximately 620,000 Americans died.
- The Red Poppy is recognized as the official Memorial Day Flower. The wearing of poppies in honor of America’s war dead is traditionally done on Memorial Day. The practice of wearing of poppies takes its origin from the poem In Flanders Fields, written in 1915 by John McCrae.
- It is customary for the flag to fly at half-staff until noon; then raised to full staff until sunset on Memorial Day.
- December 28, 2000 –President Bill Clinton signed the “National Moment of Remembrance Act,” which asks Americans to pause for one minute at 3 p.m. in the act of national unity. The time was chosen because 3 p.m. “is the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedoms on the national holiday.”
- The crowd that attended the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery remains about the same size as those that attend today’s observance: about 5,000 people.
- 27-30 funerals are conducted at Arlington Cemetery every day.Memorial Day marks the beginning of the summer vacation season.
- Memorial Day marks the beginning of the summer vacation season.
- The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council notes that starting on Memorial Day, Americans will consume a stomach-busting 818 dawgs per second. That’s just a few wieners short of 71 million in a day.
- It is expected that 39.3 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more away from home this weekend; the highest number since 2005.
So, be safe and remember those who have fought for our freedoms. Freedom is Never free.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Join the conversation. Talk to me or tell me your story. I’m all ears.