The holiday originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in that war. Their graves were decorated (hence Decoration Day) with flags and flowers. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in military service. Families remember also other deceased members of their families by visiting their graves.
The day too typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day, the first Monday in September, marks its end. And usually the threat of frost is over here and garden planting is in full swing.
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