A United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in military service for the United States.
Memorial Day was moved from the traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May as part of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968.
The war which claimed the most American lives was the Civil war, with over 618,000 deaths, compared to 416,000 in World War II.
Memorial Day was started to honor those who had served and died in the Civil War, in which more than 600,000 soldiers on both sides died.
Confederate Memorial Day is celebrated on a different day by several Southern states such as Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
Even though the name Memorial Day was in use in the 1880s, Decoration Day was still in use as a name for the day until after the end of World War II.
In 2000, Congress established a The National Moment of Remembrance, a one-minute period, was established by Congress in 2000. It is held at 3pm as that is seen as the time when most Americans are enjoying their freedom on Memorial Day.
Memorial Day commemorates those who have laid down their lives for U.S. national defence, whereas Veterans Day honours all who have served their country.
Memorial Day, began as Decoration Day on May 30, 1868, three years after the Civil War ended. It was established for Americans to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers.
Despite the claims of many local towns, the federal government declared Waterloo, N.Y. as the official birthplace of Decoration Day.
President Bill Clinton signed the National Moment of Remembrance Act in 2000 asking that all Americans participate in a moment of silence at 3pm on Memorial Day as a sign of respect.
About half of veterans of post-9/11 wars served with someone who was killed
Memorial Day is the single most popular day to eat beef each year. Fourth of July and Labor Day tie for the second most popular day.
On Memorial day, a custom is that the American flag is flown at half staff until noon, and then raised until sunset.
Late May was chosen as the date for Memorial Day as the flowers used to decorate graves would be in full bloom.
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