After the Civil War, American began decorating the graves of loved ones killed in the war. An association of Union Civil War veterans, the Grand Army Of the Republic, began promoting May 30th, as Decoration Day. A day to remember the soldiers that gave their life during the war.
By 1890 each state had officially declared Decoration Day a holiday. After the two World Wars most Americans began calling the day Memorial Day and a day to remember the fallen Military heroes. In 1968, the U.S. government passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which put major holidays on specific Mondays and officially declared the last Monday in May as Memorial Day.
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