In honor of Memorial Day, this blog post will feature some facts and information that you may not have known about this day.
1. This day of observation first began years after the Civil War. It was in the late 1860s that Americans started hosting tributes for the lost lives that served our country. These individuals would decorate their graves with flowers and flags. It was known as decoration day, which later became known as Memorial Day years later.
2. President Lyndon Johnson declared that the official birthplace of Memorial Day to be Waterloo, NY. A ceremony was held on May 5, 1866 to honor those who fought in the Civil War.
3. The individual who called for a national, official day of remembrance was Union General John A. Logan. The date May, 30th, 1868 was chosen because this was not a day of any particular battle.
4. Originally in southern states, they observed a different day to honor those lost in the Civil War. After World War I, this holiday evolved to remember and honor all fallen military personnel.
5. Congress declared Memorial Day a National Holiday to be celebrated the last Monday of May in 1971.
6. In the year of 2000, President Bill Clinton signed the National Moment of Remembrance Act. Americans are asked to pause at 3:00 PM to observe a National Moment of Remembrance.
7. We all know that so many individuals have lost their lives in war, but sometimes we don’t take the time reflect on the tremendous, tragic numbers.
During the Civil War, approximately 620,000 Americans died. The Union lost almost 365,000 troops. The Confederacy lost around 260,000. Many of these deaths were actually caused by disease.
In World War I, 116,516 Americans died. Again, half of these deaths were from disease.
During the Korean War, 36,574 Americans died. The Vietnam Conflict led to 58,220 Americans dying.
The list goes on and on. Check out the CNN source below for more information.
8. If you notice people wearing poppies on Memorial Day, but are unsure why, this is another way that people show honor and respect for those soldiers who have lost their lives. This tradition goes back to the poem called “In Flanders Fields” written by John McCrae in 1915. There are specific organizations that give out these poppies.
9. Memorial Day is actually one of the busiest travel weekends. According to Reader’s Digest, in 2017, AAA estimated that Americans travel on average around 50 miles or more during this weekend.
10. 45,000,000 + Veterans have served the country during wartime. Over 1,000,000 members of the armed services have lost their lives in conflict.
These are just some important moments in history that are something to reflect on while you are enjoying your weekend. It’s important that we take the time to honor, respect, and be thankful for those who have served our country.