Interesting Facts About Memorial Day!

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While we’re putting those steaks on the BBQ and enjoying our long 3 day weekend with friends and family, we thought it fitting to take a moment to remember the true meaning and history of Memorial Day in honor of those who have served.  Here are some interesting facts and other Memorial Day trivia.

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Memorial Day was originally known as “Decoration Day” as the original tradition was to decorate soldiers’ tombs on this day. Today, there are many people and groups who continue this tradition.

The name “Memorial Day” was first used in 1882, but it did not become popular until after World War II. It was not until 1967 that the name actually became official.

WWII Veteran Howard Snell (Photo by Kent Nishimura/Getty Images)

The holiday was originally celebrated on May 30th of every year. It was celebrated nationally for the first time on May 30, 1868. The date was specifically chosen, because it did not fall on the anniversary of any particular American battle.

Other notable dates in 1868:

Source: wikipedia

A “Moment of Remembrance” takes place nationwide every Memorial Day at 3 p.m. local time.
As you pause for a moment of remembering, here is a beautiful montage video set to [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Tim McGraw[/lastfm]’s “If You’re Reading This.”

More ways to observe Memorial Day

[photogallerylink id=79328 align=right]The date wasn’t changed to “the last Monday of May” until 1968, when the Federal Government passed the Uniform Holidays Bill. The law came into effect in 1971. The date was changed along with Veterans Day, as well as the celebration of President Washington’s birthday, in order to create several three-day weekends.

The changing of the date remains a controversy to this very day as some believe it undermined the importance of the day, and encouraged the modern observance of the holiday as a day of leisure.

2011-12 Three Day Weekends:

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

U.S. Congress and the president signed into law in December 2000 the “National Moment of Remembrance Act” and created the White House Commission on the National Moment of Remembrance, in order to ensure the sacrifices of America’s fallen heroes are never forgotten.

(Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Memorial Day is also celebrated annually at the Arlington National Cemetery, where about 5,000 people attend, and place American flags on each grave.

(Photo by Kathleen Voege/Getty Images)

The oldest, continuously running Memorial Day parade takes place every year in Ironton, Ohio. It has run since 1869.

Get details on Memorial Day events in the Detroit Metro area at CBS Local Detroit!

Sources:,, Toby Keith at

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