Memorial Day Fun Facts

Thomas Laneville, General Assignment Reporter

Monday, May 31, 2021, will mark the 153rd time Memorial Day will be celebrated in the United States. 


Memorial Day, which occurs on the last Monday in May, is often confused with Veterans Day, which is observed annually on November 11th. While both holidays honor members of the military, there is a significant difference: Memorial Day is held in remembrance of our fallen heroes, while Veterans Day honors all those who have served or are serving in the military currently.


Last year, only 55% of Americans correctly identified the purpose of Memorial Day, while 27% of the population confused Memorial Day with Veterans Day.


The first national celebration of Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, took place May 30, 1868, at Arlington National Cemetery, according to . Memorial Day emerged from the ashes of the American Civil War. Since the Civil War claimed more American lives than any war, it required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries.


In 1966, according to, the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, as the official birthplace of Memorial Day because it hosted an annual event where residents decorated the graves of soldiers with flowers and flags. It became a federal holiday in 1971, and created a three-day weekend for many American workers. 


Memorial Day is known for parades, fun, and cookouts. It’s estimated that over 800 hot dogs are eaten on Memorial Day per second. This means nearly 72 million hot dogs are eaten on this day alone. 


Like most things last year, Memorial Day was not ‘normal’ in 2020. Last year, Americans spent on average 88% less on Memorial Day than they did in 2019. 


Anyone who traveled last Memorial Day enjoyed some of the lowest gas prices in years. Heading into last year’s  Memorial Day weekend, gas in the United States averaged about $1.87 per gallon. 


According to, 83 percent of Americans think it’s important to commemorate Memorial Day. The most popular ways people will celebrate is by flying a flag (43 percent), leaving a flag or flowers on the grave of a fallen soldier (30 percent), or flying a flag at half mast (29 percent).