Memorial Day: A Look at the Unofficial Start to Summer in Photos

May 24, 2018, 7:29 PM UTC

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.