"They hover as a cloud of witnesses above this Nation"
-Henry Ward Beecher
Originally known as "Decoration Day", this holiday originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971 (as declared by President Richard Nixon).
Flags are flown at half-staff today to show grief for the lives lost.
Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, at least, Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer.