The last Monday in May is celebrated as Memorial Day to remember the U.S. soldiers who died fighting for their country. Memorial Day, which is a federal holiday, also marks the unofficial start of the summer vacation season.

Initially called Decoration Day, it became an official federal holiday in 1971. In 1868, Major General John Alexander Logan declared that Decoration Day would be celebrated annually on May 30, however, in 1971, Memorial Day was moved to the last Monday in May.

Citizens decorate the graves of fallen servicemen with flags, wreaths and flowers to commemorate the day.

Here are some quotes to honor the brave soldiers, courtesy Town & Country:

  • “Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.” – Charles de Gaulle
  • "Patriotism is not short, frenzied outburts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." – Adlai Stevenson
  • “The willingness of America’s veterans to sacrifice for our country has earned them our lasting gratitude.” – Jeff Miller
  • “I believe our flag is more than just cloth and ink. It is a universally recognized symbol that stands for liberty, and freedom. It is the history of our nation, and it’s marked by the blood of those who died defending it.”– John Thune
  • “America without her soliders would be like God without His angels.” – Claudia Pemberton
  • "A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself."– Joseph Campbell
  • "Over all our happy country – over all our Nation spread, is a band of noble heroes– is our Army of the Dead."– Will Carleton
  • "In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."– Martin Luther King Jr.
  • "I love America more than any other country in the world, and exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually." – James A. Baldwin
  • "Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it." – Mark Twain

Memorial Day A soldier in the Old Guard places flags at graves in Arlington National Cemetery during 'Flags In' in preparation for Memorial Day in Arlington, Virginia, May 25, 2017. Photo: Getty Images/BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI