(CNN) Millions of people across the United States are observing Memorial Day on Monday.
While it’s considered by many to be the unofficial start of summer, the last Monday in May is first and foremost a day to honor those who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces.
The holiday began as “DECORATION DAY” after the Civil War, but eventually the name was changed to “Memorial Day.”
It became a federal holiday by an act of Congress in 1968.
Traditional ceremonies and events on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. are not taking place this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However the National Park Service and its partners at the Veterans and Service Memorials will host virtual and online events.