In the excitement of a 3-day weekend, cookouts, parades, and summer being so near, it’s easy to ignore or forget about the true meaning of Memorial Day. While this long weekend gives us time to spend with our families and loved ones, Memorial Day is a day for remembering and honoring those who have fallen while serving our country.

We wanted to share six lesser-known Memorial Day facts with you to pass along to your kids this Memorial Day. And who knows… you might learn something new, too!

  1. Waterloo, New York is considered the birthplace of Memorial Day. President Johnson declared this in 1966.
  2. It is traditional to wear red poppies on Memorial Day. This tradition originated from the poem In Flanders Fields, written in 1915 by John McCrae. (Read the poem here.)
  3. Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, encouraging US citizens to use the day to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers. The name officially switched to Memorial Day in 1967.
  4. Some areas in the South still hold annual Decoration Days around this time for certain cemeteries.
  5. Memorial Day was originally intended to honor soldiers who had fallen during the Civil War. After World War I, it expanded to honor soldiers who had fallen in any American war.
  6. There’s a special way to raise the flag on Memorial Day. The proper way to raise the flag on Memorial day is to first raise it quickly to the top of the pole, then slowly lower it to half-mast until noon, and then back to the top for the rest of the day.

Did any of those facts surprise you?

Enjoy your 3-day weekend with your family, but don’t forget to teach your children what Memorial Day is really about or remember the many who sacrificed their lives while serving our country.

Happy Memorial Day!