Memorial Day is a day that is observed to honor all the fallen men and women who have served this country in the U.S. Military. Memorial Day always falls on the last Monday of the Month of May and was previous known as Decoration Day. Here are some fun facts about the history of Memorial Day.
- The tradition of wearing red poppies on Memorial Day originated from John McCrae’s 1915 poem In Flanders Fields. In Canada they wear red poppies to honor their soldiers on Remembrance Day in November each year.
- Although not as popular today, one tradition was to eat a picnic meal while sitting on the ground of a cemetery. There are still some people in the rural areas of the South that continue to practice this tradition.
- It’s common for volunteers to place the American flag on graves in the national cemeteries. Memorial Day is also a popular day for people to visit cemeteries and honor those who have died while serving in the military.
- It’s estimated that approximately 32 million people travel by car over Memorial Day weekend.
- Memorial Day also marks the beginning of the summer vacation season while Labor Day marks the end.
- In some areas of the rural South, they hold annual Decoration Days around this time for certain cemeteries, often in the mountains.
- Memorial Day is sometimes confused with Veterans Day. However, Veterans Day honors all United States military veterans, while Memorial Day honors the soldiers who died while serving.
- In 1966, President Johnson named Waterloo, New York as the original place of Memorial Day.