Another Memorial Day is here. But before you throw the hotdogs on the grill or head to the pool, let’s remember what this holiday is about. It’s the day we honor those who gave their lives for the freedom we enjoy.

Memorial Day’s birthplace is hotly disputed. So we’ll sidestep the controversy and focus on some aspects of the holiday you may not know, including a couple of fun food facts. Take the quiz below and test your knowledge of this annual tradition.


1. The commander of the Grand Army of the Republic issued a proclamation in 1868 declaring May 30 as a day to place flowers on the graves of Union Civil War dead. What did he call it?  

A: Memorial Day

B: Remembrance Days

C: Heroes Day

D: Decoration Day


2. Which state first made Memorial Day a legal holiday in 1873?

A: New Hampshire

B: New York

C: New Jersey

D: Rhode Island


3. Gen. Ulysses Grant attended the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery in 1868. Which future president spoke for more than an hour and a half that day?

A. James Garfield

B. Grover Cleveland

C. William McKinley

D. Theodore Roosevelt


4. A longstanding Memorial Day tradition is the placing of a special wreath in Arlington National Cemetery. Where is this touching ceremony held?

A: The Eternal Flame at President Kennedy’s grave

B: The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

C: Arlington House

D: The USS Maine Memorial


5. Another Memorial Day tradition is Operation Rolling Thunder. Hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists, many of them military veterans, ride into Washington, D.C., for the annual demonstration. What year did it begin?  

A: 1968

B: 1978

C: 1988

D: 1998


6. According to custom, how is the U.S. flag to be flown on Memorial Day?

A: At full staff

B: At half staff

C: At half staff until noon, then raised to full staff until sunset

D: Alternated hourly


7. Memorial Day 1922 (which was still observed on May 30 then) was chosen for the dedication of what famous landmark?

A: The Golden Gate Bridge

B: Mount Rushmore

C: The Gateway Arch in St. Louis

D: The Lincoln Memorial


8: Congress eventually passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, with Memorial Day observed on the last Monday in May starting in what year? 

A: 1949

B: 1960

C: 1971

D: 1982


9. It’s estimated what percentage of Americans will have a cookout during Memorial Day weekend?

A: 62%

B: 75%

C: 81%

D: 99%


10. Finally, hotdogs are a favorite food at those cookouts. How many frankfurters do Americans consume every second between Memorial Day and Labor Day?

A: 123

B: 356

C: 550

D: 818


ANSWERS:  1-D, 2-B, 3-A, 4-B, 5-C, 6-C, 7-D, 8-C, 9-A, 10-D