Memorial Day is a national holiday. It is a day to remember and honor those who gave their lives for the United States. The holiday started after the Civil War. It was first called Decoration Day because people decorated the graves of those who died in battle with flags and flowers. Since 1971, Memorial Day has been observed on the last Monday in May. The day honors those who died in battle or from wounds received in battle in any of America’s wars or other armed conflicts.
Because Memorial Day is a national holiday, many Americans have the day off from work or school. Some attend picnics, parades, or baseball games. Others attend ceremonies at local cemeteries. There, they pay respect to those American military personnel who died serving their country.
The national Memorial Day service is held at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. A small American flag is placed on each grave. The President or Vice President of the United States lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns and gives a speech. The Tomb of the Unknowns is a monument dedicated to American soldiers who died for their country. The remains of the soldiers buried there were never identified.