Memorial Day parade, Logan Monument surrounded by crowds watching soldiers march along South Michigan Avenue
Crowds stand on the hill around Logan Monument on Memorial Day while soldiers march the street, 1910s.Chicago History Museum/Getty Images
Memorial Day parade, Logan Monument surrounded by crowds watching soldiers march along South Michigan Avenue
Olympic 1,500 Meter Swimming
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Children with Flags in Memorial Day Parade
New York Penn Station, New York, USA
Cars driving in bumper to bumper traffic
The 'Sun City Merry Makers' In Memorial Day Parade
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Small band marching down a Yankee village street in Memorial Day parade in New England.
WALLENDA STUNT VETERANS STADIUM, PHILADELPHIA, USA
Denver Post Archives
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MAY 27 1980; Ribs are being barbecued for the Memorial Day crowd that gather on the 100 block of Sou
MAY 22 1981, MAY 23 1981, MAY 24 1981; In Memory of Those Who served so Unselfishly in Pat Wars; Den
JUN 26 1981; Rudy Besikof, 13. Grimaces as a cream ricochets close to his face during his stand as t
Upon the roof of a building on East 39th Street, models (lef
Colorful Creations at Hot Air Balloon Race
Three women serving hot dogs on Memorial Day
People enjoying Memorial Day in Central Park
Lindsey Doukas,10 spent the Memorial day holiday enjoying the clear warm day along Ventura's San Bue
Harley-Davidson motorcycle fans ride in Rolling Th
7 Months After Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey Shore Open For Memorial Day
Memorial Day Ushers In Beach Season In NYC
Crowds stand on the hill around Logan Monument on Memorial Day while soldiers march the street, 1910s.
Chicago History Museum/Getty Images
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Memorial Day: A Look at the Unofficial Start to Summer in Photos

May 24, 2018

Memorial Day 2018, the unofficial kickoff to the summer, is this Monday. While many will be found barbecuing and grilling, others will be at parades and cemeteries to commemorate Americans who have fallen during war.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday and a day of remembrance. Originally called Decoration Day following the Civil War in 1868, May 30th was designated to decorate the graves of fallen comrades. During World War I, the holiday evolved into a commemorative day for all fallen American military in all wars. It wasn't until 1971 that Congress designated the Memorial Day holiday as we know it today.

Memorial Day is now celebrated on the last Monday in May and is known for other things in addition to remembrance. The American Automobile Association (AAA) predicts 41.5 million Americans to travel during the weekend, and 36.6 million of them are estimated to travel by car. But those numbers don't damper the celebrations. People rejoice in the fact that it's a day off work to sit seaside or barbecue with family and friends. The start of summer is almost here.

Check out the gallery above to see how the celebrations of Memorial Day have changed through time.

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