Five Things You Need to Know Today: Memorial Day
Five facts and figures about the unofficial start of the summer season.
1. There's always a first
Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by Gen. John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on May 30, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. (Fact courtesy usmemorialday.org.)
2. I love a parade
Cities and towns across the United States host Memorial Day parades each year, often incorporating military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations. Some of the largest parades take place in Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. (Fact courtesy history.com.)
3. Honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice
Since the late 1950s, on the Thursday just before Memorial Day, around 1200 soldiers of the 3rd US Infantry place small American flags at each of more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. (Fact courtesy tidbitfun.com.)
4. Poppies for heroes
Red poppies are often worn on Memorial Day to remember those who served the United States. This tradition was begun by Moina Michael, who wrote a poem to honor fallen heroes entitled “In Flanders Fields.” Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) was the first national organization to sell poppies. They are often made by disabled American Veterans. (Fact courtesy katrenawells.suite101.com.)
5. He said it
"And I'm proud to be an American,
where at least I know I'm free.
And I won't forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me."
— Lee Greenwood
(Fact courtesy family.gather.com.)