Today May 27, Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday which occurs all year on the final Monday of May. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died whereas serving in the United States Armed Forces. Previously known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and associate soldiers who died in the Civil War. Annual Decoration Days for particular cemeteries are held on a Sunday in late spring or early summer in some rural areas of the American South, particularly in the mountains.
By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service. In cases concerning a family graveyard where remote ancestors as well as those who were deceased more recently are buried, this may take on the character of an extended family reunion to which some people travel hundreds of miles. It typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end. Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, mainly to honor those who have died in armed service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.