“Duty, Honor, Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be.”
Today we remember. Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. In 2021 as we emerge as a nation from our confines of COVID19 and look to the summer as a time to reconnect in person with family and friends, let’s not forget the true meaning of this somber day with these ten pieces of information.
1. Memorial Day originated as Decoration Day after the Civil War.
2. Memorial Day became an official holiday in 1968.
3. The Civil War remains the deadliest war in U.S. history accounting for nearly 620,000 deaths.
4. At 3pm, we observe a National Moment of Remembrance to remember the soldiers who fought and died for our country.
5. Per the Department of Veteran Affairs the U.S. flag should be flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon only. Then, it should be “raised briskly” to the top of the staff until sunset.
6. As of 2019, fewer Americans have a personal connection to the armed forces. Out of a nation of nearly 329 million people, 1.3 million Americans are in active duty military, and another 800,000 serve in the reserves, according to the Department of Defense. By comparison, about 12 percent of the total U.S. population were a part of the armed forces during World War II.
7. As of 2017, an estimated 624,000 American veterans were dying every year, most from natural causes. (Source: military.com)
8. The Memorial Day barbeque began with the original tradition of having a picnic lunch on the burial sites of fallen loved ones.
9. Since 1948, the Old Guard adorns 280,000 graves with small American flags at Arlington Cemetery. Additionally, the President of the United States participates in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
10. Ancient Greece and Rome observed a similar tradition of remembering loved ones, including soldiers, through the decoration of graves.