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Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who died in service to their country. The holiday was officially proclaimed in 1868 to honor Union and Confederate soldiers and was expanded after World War I to honor those who died in all wars. It became an official federal holiday in 1971, known as Prayer for Peace, Memorial Day. Today, Memorial Day honors over 1 million men and women who have died in military service since the Civil War began in 1861.