History and Science Facts for Kids

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Memorial Day

Memorial Day started out as a day to remember the black soldiers who died fighting for their freedom in the United States' Civil War. Most of the African-American people in the United States were slaves then, and after the Civil War they were free (even if they were mostly still sharecroppers). Later Memorial Day became popular as a day to honor all the United States soldiers killed fighting wars: the 750,000 soldiers killed in the Civil War, but also the 116,000 soldiers killed in World War I, the 405,000 soldiers killed in World War II, the 36,000 soldiers killed in Korea, the 58,000 soldiers killed in Vietnam, and the almost 7,000 soldiers recently killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. But as you can see from these numbers, most of the people being honored on Memorial Day are still the ones who died in the Civil War, which just killed a lot more people than the other wars.

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