Did you know...
- Memorial Day is much more than just a three-day weekend...
- Memorial Day is unofficial kick-off of the summer season
- Memorial Day was made a Federal holiday in 1971.
- On Memorial Day the flag should be at half-staff until noon only, then raised to the top of the staff until sunset.
- Originally, Memorial Day was known as Decoration Day because they decorated the soldier's graves with flowers. It was established to commemorate the dead from the Civil War.
- The first "Memorial Day" was celebrated on May 30, 1868. The 30th was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.
- What swelled to maybe a half-million participants in 2005 started on Memorial Day weekend in 1988. 2500 motorcyclists rode into Washington, D.C. for the first Rolling Thunder rally to draw attention to Vietnam War soldiers still missing in action or prisoners of war. By 2002, the ride had swelled to 300,000 bikers, many of them veterans. A national veterans rights group Rolling Thunder takes its name from the B-52 carpet-bombing runs during the war in Vietnam. As many as 1,000,000 riders were expected to participate in 2019, as it was thought to be the last ride. In 2021, under a new organization, the ride was renamed to Rolling To Remember but continues the advocacy for the missing in action and the veteran suicide crisis.
- "Who started the custom of wearing red poppies? In 1915, inspired by the poem 'In Flanders Fields,' Moina Michael replied with her own poem.
We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
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."
- Memorial Day Holiday was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan - National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic.
- According to The Washington Post - Taps, the 24-note bugle call, is played at all military funerals and memorial services. It originated in 1862 when Union General Dan Butterfield grew tired of the lights out call sounded at the end of each day.
- Congress changed the observed Memorial Day date in 1968 to the last Monday in May to ensure a three-day weekend.
Tidbits Courtesy of CNN, MentalFloss, Census Bureau, VA.gov, History.com and links above