Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed annually in the United States on the last Monday of May. Previously known as Decoration Day, it originated after the American Civil War to honor the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War. By the 20th century Memorial Day had been extended to tribute all Americans who have died in all wars. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. As a marker it typically marks the start of the summer vacation season.
By the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as people visited the graves of their deceased relatives in church cemeteries, whether they had served in the military or not. It also became a long weekend increasingly devoted to shopping, family gatherings, fireworks, trips to the beach, and national media events such as the Indianapolis 500 auto race, held since 1911 on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.
Memorial Day is on 28 May, 2012.