<p>Members of the American Red Cross lay flowers on military graves in France for Memorial Day in 1945.</p>

Remembering the Fallen

Members of the American Red Cross lay flowers on military graves in France for Memorial Day in 1945.

Photograph by American Red Cross, Nat Geo Image Collection

For Memorial Day, 15 Pictures That Honor U.S. Soldiers

Memorial Day honors the U.S. military's service and sacrifice, which comes in many forms as these 15 photographs reveal.

After the Civil War, many Americans began to honor soldiers killed in the line of service with ceremonies in the spring, when flowers could be picked and laid on their graves. In 1868, a group of Union veterans established Decoration Day, the predecessor of Memorial Day, declared a Federal holiday by Congress in 1971.

Although Memorial Day has its roots in the Civil War, it now honors deceased veterans of all U.S. wars. This Memorial Day, we’ve compiled photos from 1863 to the present in recognition of the men and women who have served their country.

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