US Flag Day

Published on Thursday, June 14, 2012 in , , , , ,

Marlon E's photo of United States flagsIn the United States, June 14th honors the adoption of the United States Flag and the founding of the US Army.

There are numerous facts about the United States that are notoriously challenging to memorize. If you start now, can you memorize any or all of the US facts in this posts by the 4th of July?

Probably the shortest and quickest list of US facts to memorize is the 13 original US colonies. Over at memory joggers, they recently posted a wonderfully imaginative and vivid story that will quickly have you recalling all 13 colonies in the order they joined.

In my recent posts about Joshua Foer's TED lecture and playing card memorization, I talked about the Memory Palace technique. Besides short-term uses like playing cards, it can also be used for long-term memorization. MrDaley.com's post A Memory Palace – Or How to Memorize the U.S. Presidents shows you how to tackle this classic list with surprising ease.

One of the toughest USA-related memory feats, however, is recalling the names of all 50 states. The video below was part of now-defunct promotion for funding of a book teaching mnemonics for US state names.

Unfortunately, it doesn't teach all 50 states, but perhaps you'll take inspiration from this approach, and develop your own mnemonics for the remaining states (Don't forget Alaska and Hawaii):

For even more United States-related memory challenges, check out my Memorize United States of America Facts post over in the Mental Gym!

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2 Response to US Flag Day

12:33 PM

Slightly off-topic, but I've pondered for quite a time now why it seems to be a very common challenge (or even a virtue) in US to remember such facts and milestones. No other country than I'm familiar with seems to have such a patriotic attachment to the past events and current geography. Any ideas?

For example, if I was to enthusiastically present here in Finland a challenge to remember cities and more historically important years than the year of independence, people would just ask "why on earth?" and look at me weird.

1:39 PM

Joonas, beyond just pride in one's own country, I think it's also the sheer fun of the memory challenge, plus the size of the memory challenge.

Memorizing states is roughly on a par with memorizing provinces. Finland only has 6 provinces, so this isn't very tough compared to remembering 50 states.

Similarly, Finland has only had 12 presidents, compared to 43 US presidents (Yes, Obama is the 44th president, but only 43 different people have ever held the office.)

I think people in the US like to show that they just didn't learn the information for a school test and then forget, but that they keep that knowledge with them.

Also, with so many people immigrating into the US, it's a little embarrassing for US citizens when someone who became a citizen through hard work knows more than someone who was born here.