Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died serving our country.
Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day because it was a time set aside to honor the nation's Civil War dead by decorating their grave. It was first observed on May 30, 1868, to commemorate the sacrifices of Civil War soldiers, by proclamation of General John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, and organization of former sailors and soliders.
In 1966, the federal government, under the direction of President Lyndon Johnson declared Waterloo, New York the official birthplace of Memorial Day. They chose Waterloo - which had first celebrated the day on May 5, 1866- because the town had made Memorial Day an annual, community wide event during which businesses closed and residents decorated the graves of soliders with flowers and flags.
It is now observed on the last monday in May.
It is customary for the president or the vice-president of the United States to give a speech honoring the contributions of the dead and lay a wreath at the Tomb of The Unknown Solider at Arlington National Cemetery. About 5,000 people attend this ceremony annually.