Memorial Day rail: Trivia about this day of remembrance

Gary Brown

Many communities have laid claim to starting Memorial Day -- the day to remember our war dead.

Most of these communities might have played a part in the evolution of the holiday. But Classbrain.com offers what was approved as the official version by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966:

“On May 4th of 1866, Henry Welles, a drugstore owner from Waterloo, New York, suggested a day to honor soldiers killed in the Civil War. Wreaths flags, flowers, and crosses were placed upon the graves of the dead and shops were closed,” the Web site explained.

“On May 5th, 1868, exactly two years after the Waterloo observance, retired General John A. Logan issued a General Order No. 11 establishing Decoration Day. This ‘memorial’ was a planned ceremony for soldiers who had served the war to decorate comrades’ graves with flags.”

Since then

1882: The name of Decoration Day changed to Memorial Day.

1971: President Richard Nixon declared Memorial Day a federal holiday and placed it on the last Monday in May.

The meaning

Memorial Day now serves as a day of remembrance for Americans who served and died in conflicts involving the United States.

A precise moment

The National Moment of Remembrance, created by Congress in 2000, asks that at 3 p.m. local time, Americans “voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.’”

Memorial Day trivia

-- According to Associatedcontent.com, the American flag should be flown at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day.

-- Red poppies, recognized as the flower of Memorial Day, were first worn in 1915 to honor fallen soldiers.

Barbecues begin

-- Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Americans eat an estimated 7 billion hot dogs, according to Infoplease.com.

-- Mustard is the condiment of choice for adults. Ketchup is for kids.

Patriotic melodies

For singing at ballparks and other occasions:

“Star Spangled Banner”

“America The Beautiful”

“God Bless America”

If you served:

“Marines Hymn”

“Anchors Away”

“The Army Goes Rolling Along”

“U.S. Air Force Song”

Memorial Day movies

Say it rains. You need to rent some flicks. Here are a few questions about classic war films suggested by Trickymovietrivia.com that you’ll be able to answer ... if you see the answers below.

1. Which famous star turned down the lead role in “Twelve O’Clock High” (which ultimately went to Gregory Peck)?

2. The original director of “Mister Roberts” quit after getting into a fistfight with Henry Fonda and was replaced by Mervyn LeRoy. Who was the original director?

3. Which movie named after the location of a battle that was still being fought while the script was being written?

4. Which 1949 war movie starring Audie Murphy as himself required 50,000 rounds of ammunition, 300 pounds of dynamite, 10 cases of 40 percent dynamite and 600 pounds of blasting powder to recreate the battle scenes?

(Answers: 1. John Wayne; 2. John Ford;  3. “Back to Bataan”; 4. “To Hell and Back.”)

Getting away

If you’re one of those people who look at Memorial Day merely as another three-day holiday, here are the top 10 destination suggestions offered by Shermanstravel.com:

1. Austin, Texas

2. Bermuda

3. Charleston, S.C.

4. Chicago

5. Hilton Head, S.C.

6. New York City

7. Palm Springs, Calif.

8. Quebec City

9. Washington, D.C.

10. Yellowstone National Park

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