U.S. flags decorate veterans' graves.

Many people gather for this holiday to celebrate the “unofficial” start of the summer season. However, it is important to remember the true meaning of Memorial Day and why it exists at all.

Here are 8 facts you might have not known about the federal holiday:

  1. The day was originally intended to commemorate soldiers who fought during the Civil War. But, all that changed after World War I. Since then, the day commemorates all soldiers who have fought and died serving this country.
  2. Memorial Day often gets confused with Veteran’s Day. Veteran’s Day is the day in which we honor all those who have served this country. Primarily, Memorial Day focuses on honoring the soldiers who have died.
  3. In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson named Waterloo, New York the original place of Memorial Day.
  4. There are more than 300,000 fallen soldiers buried at Arlington Cemetery. On average, there are 28 burials there each day.
  5. It officially became a federal holiday in 1971, thus creating a 3 day weekend for federal employees.
  6. An estimated 32 million people travel by car during Memorial Day Weekend.
  7. It is always observed on the last Monday of May, although in the past it was always observed on May 30th.
  8. The US flag is supposed to be flown at half-mast until noon, then raised to full mast until Sunset on Memorial Day.