What is the meaning of Memorial Day?

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Utah (ABC4 News) – Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States dedicated to honoring military personnel who have died while in the United States Armed Forces.

Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May. Memorial Day became an official holiday in 1971 and originated in the years following the Civil War. 

WATCH: Touching video explains why we remember on Memorial Day

Many Americans chose to commemorate the day by visiting cemeteries and memorials honoring their family members who have passed away. 

Related: Will the COVID-19 pandemic affect your Memorial day travel plans?

Some records show that one of the earliest Memorial Day commemorations were organized by a group of freed slaves in Charleston, South Carolina less than a month after the Confederacy surrendered in 1865. In 1966, the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day

Memorial Day typically marks the unofficial start of summer, this year Americans are honoring the day differently due to COVID-19. 

Related: UDOT tips and warnings for Memorial Day travelers

Source: History of Memorial Day

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