Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May. The federal holiday honors members of the U.S. military who gave their lives serving our country.
The day was originally known as Decoration Day in the years following the Civil War, an occasion for decorating the grave markers of service members. The name gradually changed to Memorial Day over the years, and was officially changed by federal law in 1967.
Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting memorials and cemeteries, holding family picnics, and participating in parades.