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Memorial Day originated in 1868, when Union General John A. Logan designated a day in which the graves of the fallen soldiers of the American Civil War would be decorated in their honor.
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.
In 1968 Congress passed a bill making Memorial Day one of the commemorating those in uniformed service holidays. It became a federal holiday in 1971, and is now observed on the last Monday in May.
There is also a Confederate Memorial Day, which is celebrated on various days in spring in some of the southern states.
Take a Memorial Day Quiz here.