"Formerly known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War. Southern ladies organizations and southern school children had decorated Confederate graves during the Civil War, but each region had its own date. By the 20th century Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died in all wars. Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces."
Nothing, however stops anyone from having a barbeque or, just relaxing on a three-day weekend.
'There's a military cemetary nearby, (not Arlington), that I will go alone to just as I do every year. There's no barbeque, maybe a few families of the honored dead spread out among the silent gravestones. Staying clear of those families out of respect for their privacy, my slow walk down the rows will take me across the grass before the names of the fallen. Each and every name that is passed is read and though I cannot remember them all by dusk, they are acknowledged and honored for their service and their sacrifice. Every last one of them. As the sun sets, I'll turn to leave but, not before standing briefly to attention and presenting arms; a silent salute is offered in deepest respect.' -- falcon9