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Memorial Day Trivia & Facts

america-usa-rally-crowdFrom – purpletrail.com

Memorial day is a great way to remember our patriotic heroes who sacrificed their lives to help us breathe the air of freedom. This day is observed with families and friends visiting cemeteries and memorials to pay homage to their loved ones. Want to know more about this historic holiday? Read on to learn Memorial Day trivia and history and even pick up some fun facts to share with your friends and loved ones.

“Your silent tents of green
We deck with fragrant flowers;
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.”
–Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Memorial Day Trivia & History:

When was Memorial Day first celebrated? Memorial day was first celebrated on May 30, 1868. It was observed by placing flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers during the first national celebration. Gen. James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which around 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who were buried there.

Why is Memorial Day celebrated on May 30? Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared that Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. This date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.

Who started the custom of wearing red poppies? In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael replied with her own poem.


She then came up with an idea of wearing red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need.

How is the 3rd U.S. Infantry associated with memorial day? Since the late 1950’s on the Thursday just before the Memorial day, around 1200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day.

More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye’s Heights (the Luminaria Program).

What is the National Moment of Remembrance Resolution? In the year 2000 the National Moment of Remembrance Resolution passed. At 3pm on Memorial Day all Americans are asked to voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance & respect by pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to taps.

And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years.

Memorial Day Trivia:

  • Memorial Day is a day of remembrance of those who have died serving our country.
  • General John Alexander Logan ordered the Memorial Day holiday to be observed by decorating the war dead.
  • On Memorial Day, the flag should be at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff.
  • Red Poppies are recognized as the Memorial Day flower.
  • “Taps” is often played at ceremonies on Memorial Day.
  • Memorial Day was first called “Decoration Day” because of the practice of decorating soldier’s graves with flowers.
  • New York was the 1st state to officially recognize Memorial Day.
  • Flowers and flags are the two most popular items people use to remember soldiers.
  • The south refused to honor the dead on Memorial Day until after World War I when the meaning of Memorial Day changed from honoring civil war dead to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war.
  • Memorial Day was declared a federal holiday in 1971.

Memorial Day Quotes

  • For love of country they accepted death… ~James A. Garfield
  • And they who for their country die shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights the soldier’s tomb, and beauty weeps the brave. ~Joseph Drake
  • The patriot’s blood is the seed of Freedom’s tree ~Thomas Campbell
  • These martyrs of patriotism gave their lives for an idea. ~Schuyler Colfax
  • We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them. ~Francis A. Walker

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4 years ago

https://www.memorialdayweek.com/happy-memorial-day-quotes/ I found this great site about great quotes. it is so helping.

6 years ago

Please do not forget the Japanese pilots who were told to, and did, fly their planes into our battleships on the way to the Pacific, consequently sinking our ships. I remember seeing pictures of the Japanese pilots being honored for giving their life for their country. I also remember seeing our warships on fire and sinking. The pilots had a special name which I cannot recall.

Paul D.
6 years ago
Reply to  Shirley

I believe you are referring to “Kamikaze” pilots.

Wes and Patty Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  Shirley

Memorial Day is specifically to honor those of the USA who gave their lives for this country. It is NOT a day to remember those who died, no matter how deceived, causing the deaths of our countrymen. It is very sad that Japan still does not express sorrow for the hundreds of thousands they killed because of their imperialist desires at that time. While Germany recognizes the wrongs under Hitler, Japan still does not teach their people nor recognize their great wrongs to us and many others before and during WWII. They deserve no honor. It is a shame that the historical markers in Hiroshima do not recognize their empire was the cause of the destruction.

Mark A. Rosier Sr. SSGT USAFR Retired
6 years ago

All gave some. Some gave all. Author unknown. God Bless the USA!!

Carmen Sanders
6 years ago

I remember selling the poppies with my father, a veteran of WWII, in conjunction with the American Legion Hall in our community. I was so proud to help. I think we should start that again. In fact, I may do that next year (if I can find poppies!!). This should be a reminder that Memorial Day is not picnics and cookouts, but remembrance of those who died so we could have those picnics and cookouts.

Paul D.
6 years ago
Reply to  Carmen Sanders

Find and go to your local American Legion, then ask to talk to a member of the American Legion Auxiliary. The Auxiliary has a Poppy program.

Charles Lopresto
6 years ago

On Memorial Day weekend we have had all this discussion of Hiroshima. I can’t help but think about some other sites in the Pacific Theatre that could receive wreaths from the President. Places that have experienced millions of deaths. And the numbers would be much higher, if we had not dropped the two bombs that ended the war and the potential invasion. It took the second bomb at Nagasaki to finally make the stubborn Japanese Empire quit.
Other sites include Pearl Harbor where the war began for us after we tried to avoid it. The war that we didn’t want, didn’t ask for, and didn’t start, but we had to Finish. Other sites like places in the Philippines, including the road where the Bataan Death March took place. Sites like Nanking, China, one of many villages massacred.
These and other sites may not be mentioned in our school history classes if history is still being taught at all. The folks in academia will sit in the comfort of their ivy covered halls, benefiting from the luxury of 20/20 hindsight, asking about the “questionable necessity” of dropping the bombs, that prevented “one more day” of these atrocities.
The soldiers, sailors, Marines, and flyers, the Holocaust survivors, the resistance fighters, the aid workers and the Red Cross personal, who served and sacrificed are all dying off. Who will be around to tell future generations all their stories?
Unfortunately, we can’t rely on our educational institutions or our politically sensitive administrations.

Wes and Patty Smith
6 years ago

You are right. It is a shame for Japan that they still do not recognize their responsibility for the destruction at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. While Germany recognizes and admits their wrongs under Hitler, Japan leaves their wrongs out of their history books and does not admit they brought all the destruction upon themselves after killing hundreds of thousands who only wanted to be allowed to live in peace.

6 years ago


6 years ago


6 years ago

Earlier this year there was a “Wall of Veterans” with pictures and a small comment under their pictures. But I can’t find it now. Can someone direct me to that site again?

Richard A. \"Dick\" Erickson, US Army (Ret)
6 years ago

Outstanding recognition of the true meaning of Memorial Day. As a veteran (retired US Army,) I very much appreciate your honoring our fallen
heroes. AMAC is a great, growing American institution. I am proud to be a member and AMAC Ambassador.

Carolyn Partlow
6 years ago

I agree. My grandfather served in WW I. I remember that he sold the poppies every year and he always brought some home for the family. My father taught Waves at Indiana University during WW II, 2 uncles served in the US ARMY, and another served in the US Navy. Our family is proud of all of them.

Richard A. \"Dick\" Erickson, US Army (RET) & AMAC
6 years ago

Outstanding. Great tributes to the day, the observance of the day and its traditions. As a veteran I appreciate honoring our fallen comrades.

6 years ago

Yes a beautiful poem, In Flanders Fields. It stirs Poppy Day memories, I agree this poem should be required reading in High schools.

Paul D.
6 years ago
Reply to  Jane

As well as the history of Lt. Col. John McCrae who wrote the poem.

Glenn Lego
6 years ago

Sadly, this year Obama called our veterans of WW2 “evil” for dropping the Bomb on Japan (thus ending the War.)

6 years ago
Reply to  Glenn Lego

obama is evil, Glenn, he is the worst president this country ever had. he beats carter hands down. Part of his “fundamental change” plan. he should be impeached and removed from office NOW!

6 years ago
Reply to  Glenn Lego

Obama did not call anyone evil. He said, “We may not be able to eliminate man’s capacity to do evil, so nations and the alliances that we form must possess the means to defend ourselves.”

6 years ago
Reply to  Charles

Can you say in-sin-u-ate? In context, what else could he have meant? Then he said we should all surrender our nuclear weapons.

Richard Cheney
6 years ago
Reply to  Glenn Lego

Please kill yourself, Glenn. Do everyone a favor. You add no value to this planet.

Gloria P. Sterling
6 years ago
Reply to  Richard Cheney

I took Glenn’s comment a different way than you, Richard. His first word was “sadly” and I took it to mean he did was against b.o.’s speech.

Wes and Patty Smith
6 years ago
Reply to  Richard Cheney

I don’t know why you would tell anyone to kill himself! This is outrageous. You don’t have to agree with anyone’s comments. Every person’s life has value to God and to the rest of mankind.

6 years ago

Very well written and extremely informative. Should be required reading in high schools.

6 years ago
Reply to  Wendell

And almost all true. Decoration Day was actually started in the South years before Gen. Logan made it a national holiday. It was started by Southern widows and mothers who began decorating graves in local cemeteries not long after the Civil War ended. They decorated both Union and Southern graves. The practice was later picked up in the North, and eventually became the national holiday as described in this article. The first “Decoration Day Parade” was held by freed former slaves who paraded to celebrate their freedom. They were joined in the parade by many Southern whites who also participated to celebrate the end of the war.

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