A sizable number of Americans regard Memorial Day as an important national holiday, and most plan on doing something special to honor those who have given their lives for their country.
A new Rasmussen Reportssurvey finds that 44% of American adults rate Memorial Day – celebrated today – as one of the country’s most important holidays. That’s up from 39% two years ago and down only slightly from a high of 46% in 2007 when the Iraq war was at its height. Just four percent (4%) now think Memorial Day is one of the least important holidays, while 50% rate it as somewhere in between.
Fifty-two percent (52%) plan to do something special to celebrate Memorial Day and honor those who have died for the country, up from 45% in 2014. Twenty-eight percent (28%) do not plan on doing anything special to honor the day, but 20% are not sure.
Thirty-seven percent (37%) say they have a close friend or relative who gave their life while serving in the U.S. military. Seventy-one percent (71%) of these Americans plan on doing something special to honor the day and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
In surveys for years, voters consistently have given the U.S. military high positive marks.
Men place more importance on Memorial Day than women do. The older the adult, the more importance he or she places on Memorial Day as a national holiday.
Fifty-three percent (53%) of Republicans consider Memorial Day one of the nation’s most important holidays, a view shared by 42% of Democrats and just 37% of adults not affiliated with either major party. Republicans are far more likely than the others to say they’ll do something special to honor the holiday.
But then 44% of Republicans say they have close friends or relatives who have lost their lives in military service, compared to 33% of Democrats and 35% of unaffiliateds.
Black adults place even higher importance on the holiday than whites and other minority adults do. They also are more likely to say they’ll be doing something special to honor those who have sacrificed for their country.
Americans in surveys for years have considered Memorial Day weekend to be the unofficial kickoff to summer.
Most voters (55%) continue to believe that the U.S. military is overstretched.
Since Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter announced late last year that the military would open up all combat roles to women, some top military generals have said that women like men should be required to register with the federal Selective Service System in the event there is a need for a military draft. Men like that idea, but most women don’t.
Most (53%) don’t want to raise the age for enlisting in the military from its current level of 17, although 33% think the enlisting age should be 21.
Of the many hurdles military veterans face in America today, they name adjusting back to everyday life as the most significant challenge. Many also feel that private companies are not making the adjustment any easier.