1. Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day.
2. Decoration Day was suggested by General John A Logan, leader of a civil war veterans' association. The first Decoration Day was held on 30th May, 1868. The reason for this choice was that no battle had taken place on this day.
3. Today's participants would have recognized some of the common celebrations of Memorial Day. One the first ever Decoration Day, there were speeches and soldiers' graves were decorated.
4. By 1890, each northern state was marking Decoration Day as an official state holiday; celebrations took place on different days in the southern states.
5. The origins of Memorial Day go back to the Civil War, when more lives were lost than in any other war in US history.
6. Waterloo, New York, which held its first celebrations of the day in 1866, was named the birthplace of Memorial Day by the federal government.
7. Decoration Day evolved into Memorial Day and was gradually extended to include all American military personnel who had died in different wars.
8. Memorial Day was celebrated on May 3oth for almost a century. The date changed to the last Monday in May following the passing of the Uniform Monday Holiday Act in 1968.
9. The day became a federal holiday in 1971.
10. Some of the biggest Memorial Day parades are in Washington, DC, Chicago and New York.
11. Poppy wearing originates with John McCrae's In Flanders Fields poem.
12. An additional observance on Memorial Day is the moment of remembrance, a minute of silence at 3PM local time on Memorial Day. This became law in 2000.