Memorial Day Fun Factsposted on 5/21/13
Most Americans kick off the summer by celebrating Memorial Day with friends and hot dogs. While you’re slathering all that delicious processed meat with mustard and relish this year, you should probably spend a moment thinking about the holiday and the people it honors. Start with these five interesting facts.
1. Memorial Day is not Veterans Day.
Believe it or not, Americans have been confusing Memorial Day and Veterans day for quite some time. But the difference between the two holidays is significant. Memorial day honors the military personnel who died while serving the country with a highlight on those who died from battle wounds. Veterans Day is set aside to honor all honorable members of the military both in wartime and peacetime. The holiday is mostly set aside to thank all living veterans for contributing to the security of the country.
2. If you’re talking at 3 p.m. on memorial day, you’re breaking the law.
In 2000, Congress passed a law requiring all Americans to observe a National Moment of Remembrance by pausing for a minute of silence at 3 p.m. on memorial day. The law, Public Law 106-579, is honored by dozens of organizations. Amtrak honors the moment of silence with 200 train whistles blowing at the same time. Major League Baseball halts all games and roughly 500,000 fans stand in silence. The law appears to be relatively unknown by most citizens. I doubt the cops will knock down your door and tip over your grill if they hear you talking but observing the moment really is the simplest way to honor fallen soldiers.
3. Confederate Memorial Day is a thing in the south.
Nine states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Texas) observe Confederate Memorial Day. The holiday started a year after the end of the Civil War, when the Ladies Memorial Association passed a resolution to memorialize dead Confederate soldiers. Originally, Confederate Memorial Day was celebrated on April 26–the anniversary of when Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston finally surrendered to General William Tecumseh Sherman. Now, the states that celebrate Confederate Memorial Day can’t seem to agree upon a date. The holiday is celebrated on various dates throughout the beginning of spring and summer.
4. Casualties in War.
Throughout the history of our country and its development, we have found ourselves in quite a few wars. In the first 100 years of our country’s existence, over 683,000 soldiers died in battle. Roughly 623,026 of these deaths happened during the Civil War alone. In the next hundred years, about 626,000 soldiers died in two world wars and other conflicts. If you tally up the deaths from all American wars, conflicts, skirmishes, and the like, the total comes out to roughly 1,346,000 deaths. So, yeah, you can put your beer and hot dog down for a minute to pay your respects to these lives quietly on Memorial Day.
5. Americans love their hot dogs on Memorial Day.
Memorial Day not only kicks off summer but, according to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, it also kicks off Hot Dog season. Hot dog season runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day. During this time, Americans will consume 7 billion hot dogs. The NHDSC estimates that this would be enough hot dogs to stretch from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles. Breaking the statistics down even further, 7 billion hot dogs consumed over a few months works out to about 818 hot dogs eaten every second. Did someone say that Americans also have weight, cholesterol, and various other health problems? I can’t imagine why.