Memorial Day

Updated May 10, 2022 | Borgna Brunner

A Day for the Deceased

Tomb of the Unknowns

The Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery commemorates American war dead from the World Wars, Korea, and Vietnam.
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Memorial Day originated in 1868, when Union General John A. Logan designated a day in which the graves of Civil War soldiers would be decorated.

Known as Decoration Day, the holiday was changed to Memorial Day within twenty years, becoming a holiday dedicated to the memory of all war dead. It became a federal holiday in 1971, and is now observed on the last Monday in May.

Read about the Origins and Importance of Memorial Day and learn more about how this national holiday came to be!

Special Features

Memorial Day Family Resources

The War Dead



America's Wars

The American Revolution

War of 1812

Mexican War

Civil War

Spanish American War

World War I

World War II

Korean War

Vietnam War

The Persian Gulf War

Afghanistan War

Iraq War (2003–)

The U.S. Military

The History of War


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