Army casket team at Arlington National Cemetery

Remembering those who have fallen

Memorial Day was first celebrated after the Civil War to  commemorate Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the war, and was known originally as Decoration Day. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service, and it is always celebrated on the last Monday in May.

The preferred name for the holiday gradually changed from "Decoration Day" to "Memorial Day," particularly after World War II.  It was declared the official name by Federal law in 1967, and in June 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved four holidays, including Memorial Day, from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a convenient three-day weekend.

Above all, it is a day to honor and thank those who have given their lives in service to our country.

(Photo: Army casket team escorts casket on caisson at Arlington National Cemetery.)

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