Memorial Day is an American holiday that is celebrated each year on the last Monday in May. It was originally called “Decoration Day” and it is meant to serve as a day to remember citizens who have passed away while serving in the military.
Most people trace the beginnings of Memorial Day back to the Civil War, when Americans wanted to remember and honor soldiers who had given their lives. While many towns and groups had individual designated days for doing this, lots of people credit the “official” start of Memorial Day to the town of Waterloo, New York, because the people of Waterloo regularly observed the holiday.
Especially in its earliest days, people spent Memorial Day by putting flags, flowers, or ribbons on the graves of war soldiers or by having parades. Today, many people still see the holiday as one of remembrance while also enjoying the day as part of a long weekend to spend with their families at the start of summer.