In the United States, Memorial Day honors the memory of soldiers who died in the nation’s wars. The holiday falls on the last Monday in May.
Memorial Day began in about 1866, after the American Civil War. People wanted to honor the soldiers who had died in that war’s battles. Women’s groups began laying flowers on soldiers’ graves. Because the day included decorating graves, it was originally called Decoration Day. After World War I (1914–18) the name of the holiday was changed from Decoration Day to Memorial Day.
"Memorial Day." Britannica School, Encyclopædia Britannica, 3 Feb. 2017. school.eb.com/levels/elementary/article/Memorial-Day/399542. Accessed 20 May. 2017.