Every year on Memorial Day, Americans dedicate an entire day to remembering fallen servicemen and women.
Each year, Memorial Day falls on the last Monday in May, and this year it’s on Monday, May 28, 2018.
Here are some fast facts you need to know about Memorial Day:
Memorial Day was originally referred to as Decoration Day
Shortly after the Civil War, General John A. Logan called for a “Decoration Day” to honor those who died during the bloody struggle.
According to History.com, Logan, a leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, said, “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.”
More Americans (approximately 620,000) were killed in the Civil War than in any other war in American history. Over time, Decoration Day became known as Memorial Day.
For many years, Memorial Day was observed on May 30
Memorial Day wasn’t always observed on the last Monday in May.
For a long time it was observed on May 30. It wasn’t until Congress passed the Uniform Holiday Act in 1968 that Memorial Day was officially recognized on the last Monday in May. This law went into effect in 1971.
There is a time set aside on Memorial Day for national remembrance
In case you didn’t know, the National Moment Remembrance Act sets aside 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day as a moment to pause during day.
In the past, Major League Baseball marked Memorial Day and the time of remembrance by holding moments of silence before games and pausing them at around 3 p.m. to observe and remember.
There is a certain way to hang the American Flag on Memorial Day
According to the U.S. Department of Veterans’ Affairs, flags are to follow a certain procedure.
“On Memorial Day the flag should be flown at half-staff from sunrise until noon only, then raised briskly to the top of the staff until sunset, in honor of the nation’s battle heroes,” the VA website says.
Many Americans travel on Memorial Day
Memorial Day is known as a kick-off for the summer, and with many Americans celebrating the holiday out of town, the roads are typically filled with people traveling.
According to USA Today, Memorial Day is one of the 10 worst travel days of the year. AAA estimated that in 2018, more than 41.5 million Americans will hit the road on Memorial Day, a 5 percent increase over last year.
AAA also provides “worst times” to travel on the weekend. For those in Houston, Texas, the worst day for travel is Thursday, May 24 between 4:30 and 6:00 p.m. For drivers in Los Angeles, California, the worst day for travel is Friday, May 25 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
A full list of worst days and times to travel along with other travel statistics can be found at the AAA website.
According to AAA, the top Memorial Day travel destinations are Orlando, Florida; Seattle, Washington; Honolulu, Hawaii; Las Vegas, Nevada; Anchorage, Alaska; and Phoenix, Arizona.
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