Memorial Day is an opportunity for the American public to honor men and women who died while in military service.Memorial Day differs from Veterans Day even though both federal holidays acknowledge military members.
Veterans Day is an opportunity for Americans to publicly recognize living military veterans while Memorial Day honors just our fallen Service members.
Memorial Day was formally known as Decoration Day and was first observed on May 30, 1868 at Arlington National Ceremony. The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) -- the organization for Civil War Union veterans -- leaders wanted to honor fallen Civil War Service members by decorating their graves. It was widely believed that the GAR chose this date because flowers would be in bloom all over the country. Throughout the next century, Decoration Day continued to be observed on May 30. In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day as a national holiday that occurs on the last Monday of May.