Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day facts

Here are some interesting facts about Memorial Day—some you may know, some you may not!

* Memorial Day was was first observed on May 30, 1868.

* Memorial Day was originally called “Decoration Day.”

* Memorial Day was originally created to honor Union soldiers who’d died while fighting in the Civil War. Because of this, southern states did not observe Memorial Day until after World War I, when the holiday was expanded to include soldiers from all wars.

* The red poppy is a traditional symbol of Memorial Day (many veterans wear them to commemorate the day).

* In 1924, an artificial poppy factory was created in Pittsburgh, PA, and employed veterans who needed work.

* Memorial Day observance peaked in the first part of the 20th century, when aged Civil War veterans attended parades in towns across America.

* Memorial Day observances were at an all-time low in the 1960’s, then experienced a resurgence in the 1980’s.

* On the Thursday before Memorial Day, soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard) place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They patrol the cemetery 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing.

* This tradition, called “Flags In”, has been in place since 1948.

* In 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years. This coincided with the dedication of the National World War II Memorial.

* Memorial Day traditionally marks the start of summer, while Labor Day traditionally marks the end.

* “Memorial Day” did not become the holiday’s official name until 1967, when federal law declared it.

* In 1968, Memorial Day was moved from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May in order to ensure a three-day weekend.

Happy Memorial Day to everyone…and thank you to all the troops and families that sacrifice so much for us.


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