30 Memorial Day Trivia Questions and Answers to Quiz Your Family

Memorial Day is a holiday to honor troops who have given the ultimate sacrifice. Often confused or conflated with Veterans Day or Armed Forces Day, Memorial Day is not just to commemorate those fallen in combat, but is also considered the unofficial kickoff to summer. There is much more to Memorial Day than barbecues and American flags. These Memorial Day trivia questions and answers to see how much you and your loved ones know about the solemn holiday and the true meaning and history behind it.

Related: From Activities to Crafts, 39 Patriotic Activities to Celebrate Memorial Day With Kids

Memorial Day Trivia Questions and Answers

Question: What city is known as the birthplace of Memorial Day?
Answer: Waterloo, New York

Question: Memorial Day was originally known as what?
Answer: Decoration Day

Question: Memorial Day was first recognized on what date?
Answer: May 30, 1868

Question: When was Memorial Day named as such by the federal government?
Answer: 1971

Question: What act moved Memorial Day from May 30 to the last Monday in May each year?
Answer: The Uniform Monday Holiday Act

When did Memorial Day move from May 30 to the last Monday in May?
Answer: 1971

Question: Arlington National Cemetery used to be a plantation belonging to whom?
Answer: Robert E. Lee (Bonus points if you said it originally belonged to George Washington's step-grandson, George Washington Parke Custis). 

Question: Who spoke at the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery?
Answer: Ohio Congressman James A. Garfield

Question: When was the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery established?
Answer: Nov. 11, 1921

Question: What poem inspired the tradition of wearing and planting poppy blossoms for Memorial Day?
Answer: "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae, M.D.

Related: 50 Patriotic Memorial Day Quotes That Honor Our Nation’s Veterans

"In Flanders Fields" was inspired by a battle in which war?
Answer: World War I (Bonus points if you also named the battle: the Second Battle of Ypres)

Question: Confederate Memorial Day is recognized in which states?
Answer: It's an official state holiday in Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina. It's commemorated in Kentucky, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas. It's formerly recognized in Missouri, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana and Virginia.

Question: The National Moment of Remembrance takes place at what time each Memorial Day?
Answer: 3 p.m. local time

Question: Which president signed the National Moment of Remembrance Act?
Answer: President Bill Clinton

Question: Memorial Day initially only honored the fallen from which war?Answer: The American Civil War

Related: When Is Memorial Day 2024, and What’s the Real Meaning of Memorial Day?

Question: Who is credited with creating Memorial Day?
Answer: General John A. Logan

Question: How should American flags mark Memorial Day?
Answer: At half-staff from sunrise until noon, then at full staff until sundown

Question: When was "Taps" written?
Answer: 1862 (Bonus points if you also said who wrote it: General Daniel Butterfield).

Question: Memorial Day is held in May for what reason?
Answer: So flowers will be in bloom to decorate soldiers' graves

Question: How many participants decorated graves for the first Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery?
Answer: 5,000

Related: From Activities to Crafts, 40 Patriotic Ways to Celebrate Memorial Day With Kids

Question: How many fallen soldiers were honored at the first Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery?
Answer: 20,000

Question: One of the very first ceremonies to honor fallen Union Civil War soldiers was held on May 1, 1865, by whom in what city?
Answer: 10,000 mostly freed slaves and white missionaries, along with members of the 54th Massachusetts and other Black Union regiments, in Charleston, South Carolina

Question: Which senator and World War II veteran fought to return Memorial Day to May 30 until his death in 2012?
Answer: Senator Daniel Inouye

Question: Which historical monument was dedicated on Memorial Day in 1922?
Answer: The Lincoln Memorial

Question: The ancient Greeks marked one of the earliest displays of honoring fallen soldiers in which war?
Answer: The Peloponnesian War

Related: 50 Memorial Day Quotes on Sacrifice, Gratitude and Patriotism

Question: How many total Americans died in the Civil War?
Answer: About 620,000

Question: About how many people visit Arlington National Cemetery each year?
Answer: More than three million

Question: When there was a shortage of natural poppies in 1924, which city was the first to manufacture artificial poppies?
Answer: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Question: The annual biker rally in Washington, D.C. each Memorial Day is called what?
Answer: The Rolling Thunder Run

Question: The Rolling Thunder Run is aimed at raising awareness of what?
Answer: The POW-MIA (prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action) issue

Next, find out how to help veterans, soldiers and their families.