An effort began in the growing United States from 1866 to 1869 to honor and remember the nation's fallen veterans.
In 1866, Columbus, Ga., and Columbus, Miss., created the first Memorial Association to care for the graves of Union and Confederate War veterans, according to the Phoenix Veteran's Administration.
A year later in Waterloo, N.Y., businesses flew the flag at half-staff and decorated graves of fallen soldiers.
May 30, 1868 was the first observation of Decoration Day. The following year in 1869, Public Law 90-363 called for a united annual observance of Memorial Day on the last Monday in May, according to the VA.
Many of those traditions, established 100 years ago, are still in observance today.
Here is a list of local Memorial Day events:
• 4th annual Flags for Our Fallen, 6:30 a.m. Monday, corner of Cave Creek and Pinnacle Peak roads, Phoenix. Riders USA will line Cave Creek Road from Pinnacle Peak Road south with motorcycles and flags and salute the families going into the service at the National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona. This lets the families know the veterans are not forgotten.
• Memorial Day Ceremony, 8 a.m. Monday, Veterans Administration National Memorial Cemetery of Arizona, 23029 N. Cave Creek Road, Phoenix. The ceremony includes a flyover, patriotic songs, a parade of colors, placing of wreaths and rifle volleys. Gov. Jan Brewer will speak and the ceremony will end with the release of white doves. Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops will decorate the cemetery's 48,000 grave sites and columbarium Saturday morning with small American flags.
Information: (480) 513-3600.
• Gilbert Historical Society and American Legion Memorial Day Celebration, 9 a.m. Monday, Gilbert Historical Museum, 10 S. Gilbert Road. Mayor John Lewis and two councilmen will speak near the monument honoring the town's military members, followed by a flag raising, laying of wreaths and recognition of attending veterans. The Ahwatukee Foothills Concert Band will perform. After the ceremony, the museum is open for free until noon, where people can see the new exhibit honoring late Gilbert police Lt. Eric Shuhandler.
Information: (480) 926-1577.
• 27th annual Pioneers' Cemetery Association Memorial Day Observance, 9 a.m. Monday, Pioneer and Military Memorial Park, 1317 W. Jefferson Street, Phoenix. Arizona historian Marshall Trimble will give the keynote address. There will be representatives of many of the historical Valley organizations, tours of the 1897 Smurthwaite House, self-guided tours of the cemeteries and light refreshments. Both the Smurthwaite House and Pioneer and Military Memorial Park are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Information: (602) 534-1262 or www.azhistcemeteries.org.
• Memorial Day Ceremony, noon Monday, American Legion Post 105, 3534 W. Calavar Road, Phoenix. Flag raising and unveiling of a painting of the 1934 World War I Mojave Desert War Memorial that was stolen on May 9. There will also be a raffle.
Information: (602) 505-8760.
• Academy Drum and Bugle Corps Memorial Day Celebration, 4 p.m. Monday, Pera Pavilion, 1 E. Continental Drive, Tempe. This eighth annual event features the 150-member Academy Drum and Bugle Corps performing color guard, percussion and brass music in preparation for their summer tour. A barbecue featuring hamburgers, hot dogs and drinks for purchase will be served in the shaded pavilion. Silent auctions and raffles will also be held. Proceeds benefit the Academy Drum and Bugle Corps. Tickets are $5 pre-sale and $8 day of.
Information: (480) 730-5594 or www.arizonaacademy.org.
• Southwest Institute of Natural Aesthetics is offering free facial appointments to veterans when booked by Thursday at 1460 E. Southern Ave., Tempe. Parents and spouses of veterans can receive 50 percent off a facial when they are with a veteran or bring in a picture of their veteran.
Information: (480) 393-1415 or naturalbeautyaz.com.