Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. The day commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military services. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War, it was later expanded after World War 1 to include American casualties of any war or military action. Friends and family observe this holiday by visiting cemeteries and memorials of loved ones.
As the unofficial beginning of summer, it is the traditional weekend in which people reopen pools and take in the sunshine. In addition to remembrance, Memorial Day is often seen as a time to share with family; picnics, barbeques, festivals and sporting events are yearly rituals for many. Additionally, one of the longest-standing traditions is the running of the Indianapolis 500, which has been held in conjunction with Memorial Day since 1911.