Ever wonder how many businesses are owned by U.S. military veterans, or how many grills are sold in North America? Find out the answers to these and more in our roundup of Memorial Day-related facts and figures.
Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 4, 1868, by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in General Order No. 11, to honor Civil War casualties and veterans. The day of remembrance was first observed on May 30, 1868. Originally called “Decoration Day,” to signify the day when people decorated the graves of Civil War dead, the holiday’s name was changed to “Memorial Day” in 1882.
Today, Memorial Day is an occasion for Americans to commemorate the many brave men and women in uniform from both the past and the present. The long weekend is also a major traveling opportunity, with millions of Americans visiting family and friends (and perhaps grilling their favorite meats).
Here IMT takes a look at some of the fascinating statistics behind this time-honored holiday.
WHO WE HONOR
Number of U.S. military deaths in the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), along with 6,188 wounded, out of an unknown total number of troops in service
Source: Congressional Research Service
Number of U.S. military deaths in the War of 1812 (1812-1815), along with 4,505 wounded, out of 286,730 total troops in service
Number of U.S. military deaths in the Mexican War (1846-1848), along with 4,152 wounded, out of 78,718 total troops in service
Number of U.S. military deaths (Union forces only) in the Civil War (1861-1865), along with 281,881 wounded, out of 2,213,363 total troops in service
Number of U.S. military deaths in the Spanish-American War (1898-1901), along with 1,662 wounded, out of 306,760 total troops in service
Number of U.S. military deaths in World War I (1917-1918), along with 204,002 wounded, out of 4,734,991 total troops in service
Number of U.S. military deaths in World War II (1939-1946), along with 670,846 wounded, out of 16,112,566 total troops in service
Number of U.S. military deaths in the Korean War (1950-1953), along with 103,284 wounded, out of 5,720,000 total troops in service
Number of U.S. military deaths in the Vietnam Conflict (1964-1973), along with 153,303 wounded, out of 8,744,000 total troops in service
Number of U.S. military deaths in the Persian Gulf War (1990-1991), along with 467 wounded, out of 2,225,000 total troops in service
Number of U.S. military deaths in Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003-present), along with 31,931 wounded, as of May 25, 2011
Source: U.S. Department of Defense
Number of U.S. military deaths in Operation Enduring Freedom (2002-present) in Afghanistan, along with 11,541 wounded, as of May 25, 2011
Number of businesses owned by U.S. military veterans, accounting for 9 percent of all businesses nationwide, in 2007
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Amount generated in receipts by veteran-owned businesses, 4.1 percent of receipts nationwide, in 2007
Number of people employed by veteran-owned businesses in 2007
WHAT WE DO
Number of Americans forecast to travel 50 miles or more this Memorial Day weekend, up 0.2 percent from last year
Source: AAA TravelViews
Number of travelers planning to drive to their destination this year, slightly down from the 31 million who drove last year
Average national price for a gallon of regular gasoline, compared to $2.85 this time last year
Percentage of intended travelers who said rising gas prices would not affect their travel plans this Memorial Day weekend
Number of travelers expected to travel by air this holiday weekend, an 11.5 percent increase from last year’s total
Retail sales forecast for May 27 through May 30, a 4.2 percent increase over Memorial Day weekend in 2010
Number of barbecue grills and smokers shipped in North America last year, 0.5 percent more than in 2009
Source: Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association
Percentage of North American households that own a barbecue grill or smoker
Percentage of Americans who cited Memorial Day as their top grilling holiday
Percentage of grill owners who say burgers are their favorite meat to grill, followed by steak (80 percent), hot dogs (79 percent), chicken (73 percent), sausage/bratwurst (55 percent), ribs (53 percent) and pork chops (50 percent)
The time of the National Moment of Remembrance, when Congress asks Americans to pause for 1 minute wherever they are, in an act of national unity on Memorial Day
In observance of Memorial Day, IMT will be shuttered on Monday and will return on Tuesday with our Weekly Industry Crib Sheet. Until then, have a safe and happy holiday, folks.