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Memorial Day

Holiday honors nation’s armed forces

Graves are marked with U.S. flags at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day in 2014.

Memorial Day, a federal holiday to honor U.S. military members who died while serving their country, will be observed Monday, May 25.

“The Postal Service is proud to be one of the nation’s largest employers of current and former members of the armed forces, and we honor their contributions every day,” said Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan. “On Memorial Day, we express our gratitude to those members of the military who answered the call of duty and paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country.”

Memorial Day was first widely observed in 1868. For many years, the commemoration, known as Decoration Day, honored fallen soldiers from the Civil War.

Congress made Memorial Day a national holiday in 1887. After World War I, the day was expanded to honor service members who died in all American wars.

In 1968, Congress changed the annual observance from May 30 to the last Monday in May.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website has more information, including a detailed history of the holiday.