Memorial Day is observed on May 29 in the US, and is viewed as a day of mourning by some. Here are 10 facts about Memorial Day, including when the first Memorial Day took place in 1868. Waterloo, New York is considered the birthplace of Memorial Day as it held one of the first observances on a local level. Memorial Day is a floating federal holiday in the US and commemorates the fallen troops who have died in battle. Arlington National Cemetery is visited by many Americans around Memorial Day, where thousands of flags are placed on graves. Many Americans travel during Memorial Day weekend and spend a lot of money on barbecues.
Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed in the United States on the last Monday of May every year. While some Americans use this day as an opportunity to celebrate and recharge, others view it as a day of mourning. If you’re unsure why this holiday is observed, here are ten number-based facts about Memorial Day that shed light on its origins, current observance traditions, and key statistics about America’s military.
Firstly, America’s first Memorial Day observance took place on May 5, 1868. Originally called Decoration Day by the Grand Army of the Republic, Americans visited Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia and other local resting places to decorate the graves of fallen troops. The Civil War had ended three years prior, and an estimated 620,000 soldiers lost their lives in the conflict. As seen on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, this was the first Memorial Day observance in history.
Secondly, President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed Waterloo, New York, the “birthplace of Memorial Day” on May 26, 1966. This is because records showed that the village held one of the first observances on the local level a hundred years prior, As seen on the Library of Congress. Johnson’s proclamation was made during the Vietnam War, which had been fought for 11 years at that point. The Vietnam War lasted from Nov. 1, 1955, to April 30, 1975.
Thirdly, Memorial Day became a floating federal holiday in 1971. This means that it is always observed on the last Monday of May, regardless of the date. Before this change, Memorial Day was always observed on May 30th.
Fourthly, since the Revolutionary War, an estimated 1.3 million American troops have died in battle. This includes the 620,000 soldiers who lost their lives in the Civil War. It’s important to remember and honor these brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
Fifthly, as of 2020, there were approximately 1.3 million active-duty service members in the U.S. armed forces. These men and women continue to serve and protect our country every day.
Sixthly, the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C., attracts approximately 250,000 spectators every year. This parade honors the service and sacrifice of our military members and veterans.
Seventhly, during Memorial Day weekend, approximately 3 million people visit the Arlington National Cemetery to pay their respects to fallen soldiers and their families.
Eighthly, on Memorial Day, flags are placed on the graves of more than 260,000 service members buried at Arlington National Cemetery. This is a powerful visual reminder of the sacrifices made by our military.
Ninthly, during Memorial Day weekend, approximately 37 million Americans travel. This is a significant increase from the 23 million who traveled during the same weekend in 2020.
Lastly, Memorial Day is a popular time for barbecues and outdoor gatherings. In fact, Americans spent an estimated $1.5 billion on meat for Memorial Day barbecues in 2020 alone.
Hence, Memorial Day is a solemn American holiday that honors the men and women who have died while serving in the U.S. military. It’s important to remember and honor their sacrifices, as well as the sacrifices made by their families. Whether you choose to attend a parade, visit a cemetery, or simply spend time with loved ones, take a moment to reflect on the true meaning of this holiday.
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