1) Approximately 620,000 soldiers on both sides died during the Civil War.
2) The Grand Army of the Republic was created by the Union Army to honor their dead. After World War I the American Legion took over their duties.
3) Congress passed a law in 2000 that requires all Americans to stop what they are doing at 3pm on Memorial Day to remember and to honour those who have died serving the United States. President Clinton signed this action.
4) The tradition of wearing red poppies on Memorial Day originated from John McCrae’s 1915 poem In Flanders Fields. In Canada they wear red poppies to honour their soldiers on Remembrance Day in November each year.
5) Although not as popular today, one tradition was to eat a picnic meal while sitting on the ground of a cemetery. There are still some people in the rural areas of the South that continue to practice this tradition.
6) It’s estimated that approximately 32 million people travel by car over Memorial Day weekend.
7) In 1966, President Johnson named Waterloo, New York as the original place of Memorial Day.
8) There were more American lives lost during the Civil War then the two World Wars combined. Approximately 620,000 died during the Civil War while approximately 116,516 died in World War I and approximately 405,399 died in World War II.
9) There are more than 300,000 fallen soldiers buried at Arlington Cemetery. On average, there are 28 burials there each day.
10) In 2012 there was a movie made called Memorial Day. John and James Cromwell and Jonathan Bennett starred in the film. The story revolves around a 13-year-old boy who finds his grandpa’s footlocker from the 2nd World War.
11) Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia celebrate Confederate Memorial Day. These are former Confederate states, and they celebrate on various other days ranging from January 19th to June 3rd.