What is Memorial Day?

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Memorial Day at Wesley Bolin Plaza. (29 May 2017) [Source: 3TV/CBS5] Memorial Day at Wesley Bolin Plaza. (29 May 2017) [Source: 3TV/CBS5]
War memorial at Wesley Bolin Plaza, Phoenix. (29 May 2017) [Source: 3TV/CBS5] War memorial at Wesley Bolin Plaza, Phoenix. (29 May 2017) [Source: 3TV/CBS5]
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Memorial Day isn't about giving thanks to those who served. It's about remembering those who didn't return home.

The origin of the holiday began during the U.S. Civil War from 1861 to 1864. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers died on the field of battle. During the conflict soldiers and civilians would decorate the graves with wreaths and flowers to remember those who died.

Shortly after the war in 1868, "Decoration Day" was adopted. However, during the second world war, the term "Memorial Day" took hold and in 1971 it became a federal holiday.

At Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza near Arizona's state capital, you can find memorials dedicated to soldiers who perished in war. Some have the names of the fallen.

Timothy Arndt, a Marine Corps veteran, brought his family down for them to learn about the sacrifices made in war.

"Know what happened and why it happened. By teaching the next generation about this hopefully, we can prevent something like this from happening again," Arndt said.

From the Revolutionary War to the War on Terror, more than a million Americans have lost their lives on the field of battle.

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