Celebrating Memorial Day doesn’t mean only family get-togethers, beach trips or barbecues. On this day, we need to commemorate the military people who sacrificed their lives while serving for their country.
To know how important Memorial Day is, read this article and learn the most important facts about this holiday, which, by the way, falls onto May 29 in 2017.
10 things you have to know about Memorial Day
- Multiple communities started celebrating Memorial Day long before it was proclaimed the national holiday. After the official declaration of this day, Waterloo, NY was recognized as the birthplace of Memorial Day, since the first celebration of Memorial Day was held there on May 5, 1866.
- At first, Memorial Day was the day to commemorate the military people who passed away during the American Civil War (1861-1865). Afterwards, it became the day to celebrate the Americans who died in all wars.
- Originally, Memorial Day was called Decoration Day due to the fact that people decorated soldiers’ graves on this day.
- Initially, Memorial Day was to honor Union soldiers. However, after some time, people started to commemorate Confederate military people as well.
- On the first Memorial Day in the history, approximately 5 thousand people gathered to honor the soldiers who died in the Civil War. This ceremony was held at Arlington National Cemetery. The size of the crowd was roughly the same as of those that take part in the commemorations today.
- The Civil War was the deadliest war in the history of the United States. Approximately 620,000 people died in it. To compare, see the following numbers:
– 116,516 Americans died in World War I
– 405,399 Americans died in World War II
– 36,574 Americans died in the Korean War
– 58,220 Americans died in Vietnam Conflict
– 383 Americans died during the Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm
– 4,424 Americans died during the Operation Iraqi Freedom
– 73 Americans died during the Operation New Dawn
– 2,349 Americans died during the Operation Enduring Freedom
Thus, roughly 644,000 Americans have passed in all other military conflicts and wars combined.
- For decades, people had been celebrating Memorial Day on May 30. However, in 1971, according to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, it was shifted. From then on, we celebrate Memorial Day on the last Monday of May.
- Red poppies are one of the symbols of Memorial Day. Poppies are associated with the remembrance of the dead. Due to that, people wear these flowers on Memorial Day to honor the military men who died on battlefield.
- On December 28, 2000, the National Moment of Remembrance Act was signed by President Bill Clinton. Since then, 3 PM local time is designated as the National Moment of Remembrance.
Now you know much more about Memorial Day. Celebrate it properly this year!