Memorial Day is finally here, but the federal holiday is way more than just the unofficial start of summer. With the arrival of warmer temperatures and marathon barbeques, it is easy to overlook the history of the important day.

Each year, the last Monday in May is dedicated to honoring members of the military who lost their lives while serving the United States.

Check out a few of these Memorial Day facts compiled from History and the US Department of Veterans Affairs below:

-Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day. During the event, businesses would close and locals would decorate the graves of soldiers with flags and flowers.

-At 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, a national moment of remembrance is held.

-In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson and Congress declared Waterloo, New York was the official birthplace of Memorial Day.

-Waterloo celebrated its first version of Memorial Day on May 5, 1866, however, it was dedicated to honoring local veterans.

-Memorial Day didn’t start to honor all fallen veterans that died in American battles until after the Civil War.

-The earliest celebration of Memorial Day dates back to 1865 a month after the Confederacy surrendered in the Civil War. The event was organized by a group of freed slaves in Charleston, South Carolina.

-On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, the leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a day of remembrance to honor fallen soldiers to take place at the end of the month.

“The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet churchyard in the land,” Logan stated.

-Memorial Day went on to be celebrated on May 30 for years until the federal government stepped in.

-The first major observance of Memorial Day took place at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

-Around 5,000 people attended the first Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

-While Memorial Day is dedicated to honoring all fallen military personnel, some southern states celebrate Confederate Memorial Day on the last Monday of April, in which they pay tribute to confederate soldiers.

-Congress passed the National Moment of Remembrance Act in December 2000 so fallen heroes from America will continue to be honored across the country. The law created a White House commission that coordinates Memorial Day celebrations and national moments of remembrance.

-Memorial Day was declared a national holiday in 1971 when Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which established that the holiday would be celebrated on the last Monday in May.

memorial day
Soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (Old Guard) take part in "Flags-in", where a flag is placed at each of the 284,000 headstones at Arlington National Cemetery ahead of Memorial Day, in Arlington, Virginia, on May 25, 2017. REUTERS