Celebrated on the last Monday of May, Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the Unites States for honoring US military members that have perished while serving in the armed forces.
The first national observance of the holiday was on May 30, 1868 when it was then known as Decoration Day.
Americans also observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries and memorials. Some people wear a red poppy in remembrance of those fallen in war—a tradition that began with a World War I poem. On a less somber note, many people take weekend trips or throw parties and barbecues on the holiday, perhaps because Memorial Day weekend—the long weekend comprising the Saturday and Sunday before Memorial Day and Memorial Day itself—unofficially marks the beginning of summer.