Baker’s Dozen – Fun Facts About Memorial Day

Memorial Day is all about honoring our deceased veterans. My husband’s father and my father were both veterans.  My brother is a veteran.  My niece’s husband and one of my nephews have also served in the armed forces.

My father-in-law and my father are both buried in the same military cemetery and, even though they died nearly 30 years apart, their graves are very close to one another.  My dear, sweet mother-in-law visits her husband’s grave frequently and leaves flowers there.  She does the same at my father’s grave.  She will do so this Memorial Day weekend as she does every year.

My father-in-law served in World War II.

This is the only picture we have of my father-in-law.  It was taken sometime in the late 1970s on Christmas Eve which was his birthday.  He was a Marine and passed away in 1980.

My father served in the Korean War.

Here is a picture of my father in his Army uniform.  He passed away in 2008.

My brother was in the Navy and was involved in the Siege of Beirut in 1982.

Here is my brother as a little boy, in 1979 in his Navy uniform, and more recently.

Here are some fun facts about Memorial Day.

1)  Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday that honors deceased veterans.

2)  It was first enacted after the Civil War to honor Union and Confederate soldiers.

3)  It was originally celebrated on May 30 every year.  This date was chosen because no major battles occurred on this date.

4)  It did not become an official federal holiday until 1967.

5)  It was originally called Decoration Day, but renamed Memorial Day to honor deceased military from all armed conflicts and wars.

6)  It was moved to the last Monday of May in 1968 under the Uniform Holidays Bill which provided for 3-day holiday weekends starting in 1971.

7)  Many people celebrate Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials.

8)  A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.

9)  Another tradition is to fly the flag at half-staff from dawn until noon local time at which point it is raised.

10)  The Indianapolis 500 has been run on Memorial Day weekend since 1911.

11)  Canada’s version of Memorial Day is known as Victoria Day and is celebrated exactly one week earlier than the United States holiday.

12)  Memorial Day marks the beginning of the summer season.

13)  Memorial Day is a long weekend that most people spend shopping, at family get-togethers, shooting off fireworks, and taking trips to the beach. This watering down of the meaning of the holiday upsets many veterans who would like to see a return to the original roots and meaning of the holiday.

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

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