10 Things You May Not Know About Memorial Day.

1.)  Originally “Decoration Day” Memorial Day was established to honor Union and Confederate soldiers who died during the Civil War.  After WWI the holiday was changed to honor all who died in any war while serving with the United States.

2.)  In 1971 Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday to be celebrated the last Monday in May.

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3.)  In December 2000, Congress passed a law requiring Americans to pause at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day to remember and honor the fallen.

4.)  Several towns claim to be the “Birthplace of Memorial Day” In 1966 Congress declared Waterloo, NY to be the birthplace of the holiday.

5.)  Memorial Day etiquette is to fly the flag at half staff until noon, then fully raise it until sunset.

6.)  On the Thursday before Memorial Day, soldiers of the U.S. 3rd Infantry place small American flags at more than 260,000 graves at Arlington Cemetery.  The graves are then patrolled through the weekend to ensure that no flags fall or are removed by visitors.

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7.)  Memorial Day was originally observed every May 30th.  But due to the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which took effect in 1971, Memorial Day was moved to the last Monday of May.

8.)  The Memorial Day tradition of wearing artificial poppies was inspired by John McCrea’s World War I poem “In Flanders Fields”.

9.)  The Indianapolis 500 has been held on Memorial Day weekend since 1911

10.)  The Rolling Thunder Ride to the Wall began in 1987 with an estimated 2,500 in attendance.  By 2008 the event had grown to over 300,000.

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