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Since 1971 Memorial Day has been observed annually on the last Monday in May. The purpose is to honor the nation’s military personnel killed in wartime.



The holiday was called Decoration Day at first, because people decorated soldiers’ graves with flowers and flags on that day. Today it is also marked by parades, memorial speeches and ceremonies.


Waterloo, New York, was the birthplace of Memorial Day.



On May 5, 1866, the people of Waterloo placed flowers on the graves of northern soldiers who had died in the Civil War. In 1868, Major General John Logan declared May 30 as a day for honoring soldiers who had died fighting for the North.


A lot of meaning is attached to decorating graves.



After World War I ended, in 1918, Decoration Day became a day to remember everyone who died fighting in U.S. wars - the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, and World War I. The observation now also includes World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.


And I remember rural churches that had a big event on what they called Decoration Day, a time to place flowers on the graves of loved ones and remember them.


Let us take a close look at lives that are most important to us today.