Closest Center:

  (847) 485-0000
Find a Center



Today In History

Memorial Day

May-15, 2016

Memorial Day is a federal holiday and is observed on the last Monday of May. Originally known as Decoration Day, It is originated in the years following Civil War and became an official holiday in 1971. This day is a remembrance for those who sacrificed their lives in the service of the United States military. Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family get-together and participating in parades. More than two dozen towns and cities claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day. While Waterloo N.Y. was formally stated the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it’s hard to prove the origins of the day.


The Civil War, the America’s most unforgettable chapter which killed over six hundred thousand soldiers of America. By 1860s Americans from various cities had begun holding springtime tributes to the countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves and performing prayers.

You Know?

Each year on this Day a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time.


On May 5, 1862, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of commemoration later that month. “May 30th, of 1868, is chosen for decorating the graves of comrades who died in protection of their country during the late revolt, and whose bodies now recline in almost every city, village and village churchyard in the land,”. The date of Decoration Day, was chosen because it was not the anniversary of any particular fight.

General James Garfield made a speech on the first day of Decoration Day, at Arlington National Cemetery; more than 5,000 participants decorated the graves of 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there. Many Northern states had similar remembrance events in subsequent years, and by 1890, each state had made Decoration Day an official state holiday.

Traditions of Memorial Day

States and town across the United States host Memorial Day parades each year, often incorporating military workforce and members of veterans’ organizations. The largest parades take place in New York, Washington, D.C, and Chicago. Americans also observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. In some places, people throw parties and barbecues on the holiday because it unofficially marks the beginning of summer.