On Memorial Day, we honor those who have fought (and continue to fight) for our freedom. But there are also some unsung heroes that have graced the battlefields: candy! It’s kind of neat that some candy has served its country too—and is still doing so today. Make sure you thank your military and veteran friends and family for their service this Memorial Day and honor those who have fought alongside them by eating some of these patriotic sweets. You can even send treats to troops overseas and boots on the ground in America if you’d like to say thank you to more military members. Here are some of the MOST patriotic candies:
Jelly beans were invented in 1861, but they were elected one of the most popular candies in America when Ronald Reagan was inaugurated. Ronald Reagan was crazy about jelly beans, so much so that he had three tons of them at his inauguration. His favorite flavor was blueberry and he always had jars and jars of these beans in the White House. While jelly beans never made it to combat, we’re sure they eavesdropped on some pretty classified secrets before being gobbled up.
You might be wondering why President Reagan had such a penchant for jelly beans. It was actually for his health. Ronald Reagan was a smoker and used jelly beans to help him quit. It’s pretty cool to think about all the famous diplomats and politicians who dined on Jelly Bellies with Ronald Reagan during the 80’s.
The military was sent overseas with their Tommy Guns and Tootsie Rolls during World War II. That’s right. These chocolate morsels were part of soldier rations. Why? Because Tootsie Rolls tasted yummy (and still do), didn’t spoil, and gave soldiers a boost of energy during traumatic and tiresome times. Plus, Tootsie Rolls were tiny enough to pack in tight shipping containers.
Tootsie Rolls were first mass produced in New York City in 1905. Decades later, they were deployed all over Europe and the Pacific to help American soldiers fight WWII. It’s kind of amazing Tootsie Roll came out victorious. During WWII, the U.S. government stopped production on most candies—to conserve supplies and use man-power (and woman-power) to fuel the fight overseas. Only the essential items made it. We’re sure glad Tootsie Rolls were one of them.
Today, you can’t buy D-Bars at candy stores, but back in the day they were a staple of military rations—even an item on explorations to Antarctica! However, you probably wouldn’t want to eat a D-Bar because these “candies” were made for energy, not flavor. In fact, the government purposely told Hershey Chocolate Company to make them only a little tastier than “a boiled potato.”
Before settling on a recipe, Hershey made almost 100,000 D-Bars. Then during WWII, they ramped up production again to send 24 million bars per week to American troops. A lot went into helping the allies win the war, but D-Bars were definitely a part of that.
Did you know that M&Ms were actually invented during WWII? They were! This now famous chocolate candy was shipped to military forces starting in 1941. In fact, civilians couldn’t even get their hands on M&Ms until after we won the war because rations on supplies were so strict. The soldiers gobbled these new candies up and gave them rave reviews, giving the candy company the idea to mass market these treats after the war.
M&Ms have evolved since WWII. Originally, these chocolate candies came in cardboard tubes. Now, we buy them in small to extra large sized bags. The colors have mostly stayed the same though. M&Ms originally came in red, brown, orange, yellow, purple, and green—colors you can still buy to this day.
Curious about where Snickers got its name, what candy color is most popular in America, and other candy facts? Get a mouthful of fun information with candy facts and trivia. Have a great Memorial Day, everyone!