Memorial Day, observed the last Monday in May, is a federal holiday in the United States. Declared by an act of Congress in 1971, the holiday honors all those who have died in American wars.
The first Memorial Day observance took place in Arlington National Cemetery in 1868, three years after the Civil War ended. As of 2015, people still place small flags on each grave in Arlington National Cemetery each Memorial Day. The Office of Veterans Affairs encourages all Americans to observe a moment of silence at 3 p.m. each Memorial Day to honor these fallen heroes and reflect on the true meaning of the holiday.