Memorial Day by the Numbers

Memorial Day is an opportunity to acknowledge and give thanks to the veterans who have given their service and their lives for American citizens. They deserve our appreciation all year round, but we set aside one day just for them – read on for some numerical trivia about it.

May 30th, 1868: the date the first Memorial Day, then called Decoration Day, was celebrated in the U.S in Arlington National Cemetery. It wasn’t until 171 years later, though, that it was declared a national holiday, in 1971.

3:00 PM: the time designated for a moment of silence and remembrance around the country; it was established in 2010.

Because of the long weekend and the start of summer, it’s a popular travel weekend every year – around 37 million Americans travel 50 miles or more to celebrate with friends or family, although 54% of people say they prefer to avoid travel on holiday weekends. One reason could be that nationwide, gas and hotel prices tend to rise accordingly.

57% of people plan to celebrate by breaking out the grill. The weekend kicks off peak hot dog season in the U.S., the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day in which Americans eat a whopping 818 hot dogs per second – more than 7 billion all told.

The Civil War had the greatest number of casualties in American history (498, 332), followed by World World II with 405, 399.

There are an average of 28 burials at Arlington National Cemetery every weekday.

1948: year the 3rd Army Infantry Regiment – popularly known as The Old Guard – began placing flags on the graves at Arlington in honor of the holiday.

More than 42 million service men and women have served during wartime since the inception the United States. Today, a total of around 7% of the population – approximately 22 million people – are veterans, although these numbers are inexact estimates by the Department of Veteran Affairs.

Don’t forget to thank a Vet this Memorial Day!


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