It's so easy to get wrapped up in the fact that this weekend is the unofficial kickoff to summer. Many people will get a few days off from work and just as many are looking forward to a break from the insanity that our jobs sometimes bring to our lives, but Monday is also Memorial Day, a very important day for our country, one deserving of our utmost respect.

According to the National WWII Museum, 80 percent of Americans don't really understand the real reason that we observe Memorial Day.  As a matter of fact, only 20 percent of people surveyed said that they know "a lot" about Memorial Day. The other 77 percent said they know "something" or "a little" about the holiday and 3 percent said they knew "nothing" about what Memorial Day is. While 3 percent doesn't seem like a whole lot, it is. 3 percent of the American population is roughly 9,858,852 people who don't know what one of the most important United States holidays is.

Just in case you need a refresher, Memorial Day is a federal holiday. It's a day when most businesses close, and all government offices and schools shut down. But more importantly, Memorial Day is the day on which we pause to honor and remember the men and women who lost their lives while serving in the United States armed forces.

Memorial Day is observed each year on the last Monday of May and falls on May 27th this year. When the holiday was first created, it was known as Decoration Day. Memorial Day was created after the American Civil War to honor both the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the war. By the 20th century, Memorial Day was extended to honor all Americans who died while serving in our military.

[via National WWII Museum/History]