It is illegal to not remember the fallen on Memorial Day. That’s right, mandatory remembrance. According to a law passed in 2000, all Americans MUST pause for a moment of reflection at 3 p.m. local time. Or else.
So in accordance with the law, and because our service members deserve every moment of appreciation we have, here are some fun facts for your Memorial Day.
- Out of 1.2 million American soldiers who have died in battle, the conflict with the highest toll to date is the Civil War. In fact, about half of the total losses since our nation’s beginning, over 600,000, were Union and Confederate soldiers. It was this unprecedented carnage that inspired us to start observing Memorial Day in the first place.
- Memorial Day was declared a federal holiday in 1888 in order to allow Civil War veterans who were Washington D.C. federal employees the chance to honor their fallen comrades without giving up a day’s pay.
- Before it was renamed Memorial Day, the last Monday in May was called “Decoration Day” since it was and is the custom to decorate military graves.
- Today, American’s eat roughly 7 billion hot dogs on Memorial Day. That’s 818 hot dogs per second.
- 25 different U.S. cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day.
- The most common side dish served on Memorial Day is corn, and the most popular flavor of barbecue sauce is hickory.
- On the long Memorial Day weekend, about 34 million people travel more than 50 miles, and about 1.75 million of them take the bus.
- Retail sales increases by an average of 73% on Memorial Day weekend.
- 42 million Americans have enlisted to defend our country since its birth. So let’s all take a moment to give them our thanks.