Why Memorial Day?

Today in honor of Memorial Day I have some factoids from Dictionary.com. In the meantime my family and I will be at our local Memorial Day celebration. Following will be a fish fry at the local D.A.V. We are helping gather the veterans from the nursing home to go with us and honor their family and friends. I do wish to thank my Dear Hubby, a Navy veteran and commander of our AmVets, my in-laws who are both Navy veterans and my College Girl who did a stint in the Navy too!

In honor of Memorial Day, Dictionary.com (www.dictionary.com), the leading online and mobile dictionary, continues its Word on Words series with a collection of words and factoids that we hope will help everyone look past the beer and hot dogs and add meaning to this year’s celebration.


Decoration Day? Memorial Day used to be known as Decoration Day and was meant to honor Union soldiers who died in the Civil War. The name slowly changed to Memorial Day, and was expanded to encompass all U.S. wars.

Why Monday? Why May? Ironically, the holiday was first celebrated on May 30 because it was NOT the anniversary of a battle. With the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968, Congress changed the date to the 31st, a Monday, in order to create a new beloved institution – the 3-day weekend. Many states resisted the change for a few years.

Veteran’s vs. Memorial Day – which is which?

Have you ever been confused by the two seemingly identical holidays? Don’t be – the distinction is simple. While Memorial Day honors war dead, Veteran’s Day honors those who fought for our country and survived.

How to properly observe

The U.S. observes a national moment of remembrance at 3:00 pm local time, and flags fly at half-mast from dawn until noon.

Interesting Factoid:

Papaver rhoeas, the red poppy: Poppies are the flower typically placed on soldier’s graves on Memorial Day because of the poem “In Flanders Field” by John McCrae. The poem, about a soldier seeing his friend die in battle, refers to a field of poppies that serves as the cemetery for many war dead.

Other facts that you can use to impress your veteran friends:

What’s a “platoon?” In the Army a platoon is composed of 42 soldiers, while the Marine Corps limits the count to 13. The Air Force has a similar unit called a “flight” which is also made of up of 13 soldiers. Platoons can be divided into sections or “fireteams.”

Units larger than a platoon include the:

· company

· battalion

· regiment or brigade

· division

· corps

· field army

P.S. If you enjoyed this free exchange of information that we call the “Word on Words,” be sure to thank a veteran – fascist dictators get to create their own historical “facts” and word definitions.

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