ST. LOUIS, Mo. — Here are 10 fast facts about Memorial Day, a holiday honoring American soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country:
• Even though numerous communities had been independently celebrating Memorial Day for years, the federal government declared Waterloo, N.Y. the official birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo first celebrated the holiday on May 5, 1866.
• Memorial Day was celebrated on May 30 for decades, but in 1971, Congress established Memorial Day as the last Monday in May and a federal holiday.
• Memorial Day originally honored military personnel who died in the Civil War (1861-1865).
• Roughly 620,000 Americans died in the Civil War — making it the deadliest war in American history. About 644,000 Americans have died in all other conflicts combined.