More than 50% of Americans don’t know the true purpose of Memorial Day

More than half of Americans have no idea what the meaning is behind the federal holiday, a survey finds.

2 min read

The ideal depiction of Memorial Day for many Americans is generally construed as a time of celebration, outdoor feasts, and summer-like sunshine.

According to a survey by OnePoll and the University of Phoenix, more than half of Americans have no idea what the true meaning is behind the federal holiday.

Memorial Day, one of three holidays honoring personnel in the United States Armed Forces, originated close to the same time the New York Times newspaper was established, around the mid-1800s. Since then, the federal holiday has become synonymous with the mourning and placement of American flags on the graves of deceased veterans.

In their survey involving 2,025 adults, the research team stated that only 55 percent of respondents were able to detail the true purpose of Memorial Day, with 27 percent exhibiting some confusion with Veterans Day, a holiday in which all military veterans are honored.

“While most Americans recognize that Memorial Day is a military holiday, it is important to understand that it is a solemn day of remembrance,” a University of Phoenix official stated in a news release.

“More than three in five (63 percent) U.S. adults have themselves or have immediate family members who served in the U.S. Armed Forces,” the news release reads. “However, only 46 percent of adults aged 18-34 identified the correct meaning of Memorial Day versus 58 percent of 45 to 64 year-olds. Adults aged 65 and over were most likely to cite it as a day of honoring those who died serving in the Armed Forces (65 percent). ”

The study was conducted in mid-April 2019 and published in May 2019.

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