Memorial Day is much more than a three-day weekend. Here’s what you didn’t know about the national holiday.

Posted by Ben Fisher on

3 Things You Didn’t Know About Memorial Day


Memorial Day began as an informal commemoration of those who died in the Civil War. Today, it is one of the country’s most solemn holidays. Here are three things you didn’t know about Memorial Day.


  1. Memorial Day and Veterans Day are Different!

I know, this is probably the most obvious fact. But there are plenty of people who confuse Memorial Day with Veterans Day! The former is a day to remember military personnel who have died while serving their country, especially those who lost their lives in a battle. Veterans Day falls on November 11 and commemorates those who have served in the military – both, during war and peace. It is a day to thank and honor everyone in the military – not only those who have died but also those that live. Veterans Day was previously called Armistice Day and was intended to honor veterans of World War I.  


  1. The South Did Not Adopt Memorial Day Until After World War I

Memorial Day was declared to be a federal holiday, but only applicable to federal employees and people in the District of Columbia. The holiday was declared so to allow Civil War veterans to honor their fellow soldiers without losing a day’s pay. The holiday was later enacted by New York and other states in the North. States in the South adopted Memorial Day when its meaning was broadened to include people who died in all American wars, including the Civil War.


  1. A few Memorial Day Customs

Over time, Americans have adopted their own customs for Memorial Day. For example, people wear their patriotic shirts and accessories and fly the flag at half-staff until noon. The flag isn't raised until sunset. Since the year 2000, Americans have been pausing for one minute at 3 pm as a symbol of national unity and to honor fallen soldiers.