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Memorial Day Trivia Facts

Observed in the flower-filled month of May, Memorial Day is a special tribute to the military personnel who have died to defend their country.

Discover more about the origin, traditions, and other details about Memorial Day in our fun facts.

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Memorial Day Trivia Quiz

Many towns claim that they celebrated the first Memorial Day by honoring the dead in their area. But because of the formal and annual honoring of fallen soldiers since 1866, Waterloo, New York, was officially recognized as the birthplace of Memorial Day. This happened in 1966, one hundred years after.

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After America's involvement in another major war, World War I, traditions began that led the holiday to include the fallen American soldiers of all other wars.

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General John A. Logan, considered the founder of Memorial Day, named it Decoration Day because of the flowers and other decorations placed on the graves.

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Memorial Day Weekend is unofficially considered the start of summer. Loved ones often hold outdoor barbecues or picnics at this time because of the good weather.

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The red poppy became the official flower after Moina Michael, an American teacher, came up with the idea as a symbol of those who died in World War I. She began selling poppies to her friends to help raise money for disabled veterans.

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The purpose was to give government employees more 3-day weekends. Aside from Memorial Day, three other holidays (Labor Day, President's Day, and Veteran's Day) were also affected by the bill (though Veteran's Day was moved back to its original day in 1978).

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In response to the poem "In Flanders Fields," professor Moina Michael came up with her own poem, "We Shall Keep the Faith", where red poppies are mentioned, leading to many more Memorial Day traditions.

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In 1868, General Logan gave an order to set aside May 30th as a day for decorating the graves of fallen comrades in the last war. It is said he chose it because no other battle was celebrated on that day. Others say it was to ensure flowers would be in bloom as it was the beginning of summer.

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The military's funeral bugle song "Taps" is played at 3:00 pm. The time of 3:00 pm was chosen by Congress as a moment of national unity since most Americans are expected to be enjoying their hard-won freedom at that time.

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Congress passed this act in 2000. It encourages Americans all around the world to pause for a moment at 3 pm on Memorial Day in memory of those who had fallen in service of their country.