Memorial Day


By Sharon Schweitzer


Do you know the true meaning, culture, and history of Memorial Day? Find out with these ten quiz questions!

____ 1. The Lincoln Memorial was dedicated on Memorial Day in 1922.

____ 2. Memorial Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May.

____ 3. In 2000, President William J. Clinton issued a Memorandum on the White House Program encouraging all U.S. American to observe a National Moment of Remembrance on each Memorial Day, by pausing at 3 p.m. local time to solemnly remember those who have fallen.

____ 4. The South only began to honor fallen soldiers on Memorial Day after World War I, when the holiday came to recognize all U.S. Americans who died in any war.

____ 5. Red roses are recognized as the Memorial Day flower.

____ 6. Vermont was the first state to officially recognize Memorial Day.

____ 7. Two of the biggest car races of the year, the NASCAR Coca Cola 600 race in Charlotte, North Carolina and the The Indianapolis 500-Mile Race in Indiana, are held on Memorial Day weekend.

____ 8. Memorial Day was officially declared a federal holiday in 1971.

____ 9. On Memorial Day, proper flag protocol is to fly the flag at half-mast from dawn until the Moment of Remembrance.

____ 10. Memorial Day originated as a way to honor soldiers who died during the American Revolution.

Once you determine which statements are true, share these fun Memorial Day facts with friends and family, and enjoy the holiday while remembering why we celebrate.


Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5th, 1868, the head of an organization of Union veterans — the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) — established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers.It is believed the date was chosen by Maj. Gen. John A. Logan because flowers would be in bloom all over the country. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.” Because the day wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle, the General called it, the date of Decoration Day.

The first large observance was held that year at Arlington National Cemetery, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. The ceremonies centered around the mourning- draped veranda of the Arlington mansion, once the home of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Various Washington officials, including Gen. and Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant, presided over the ceremonies. After speeches, children from the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Orphan Home and members of the GAR made their way through the cemetery, strewing flowers on both Union and Confederate graves, reciting prayers and singing hymns. 

In 1966, Congress and President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, N.Y., the “birthplace” of Memorial Day. Businesses closed and residents flew flags at half-staff. By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30th throughout the nation. 

New York was the first state to officially recognize the holiday in 1873. It was recognized by all northern states by 1890. Differently, the South refused to acknowledge the day and honored their dead on separate days. 

State legislatures passed proclamations designating the day, and the Army and Navy adopted regulations for proper observance at their facilities. It was not until after World War I, however, that the day was expanded to honor those who have died in all American wars. In 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday by an act of Congress, though it is still often called Decoration Day. It was then also placed on the last Monday in May, as were some other federal holidays. 

Whether you’re outdoors in the sunshine, or enjoying the shade with loved ones, let us all join in remembrance and gratitude for those who gave their lives for our freedom. From our team to you and yours, happy Memorial Day!


Photo by Sharon Schweitzer

Sharon Schweitzer JD, is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she is an attorney and mediator. Sharon served as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business,  Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She’s a winner of numerous awards, including the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards.

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