The Memorial Day holiday began as a day to honor soldiers who died in the Civil War. In May 1865, the people of Waterloo, New York, gathered to decorate Civil War graves and remember those who died. Other towns started similar events, and in 1868, a Civil War veteran, General Jonathan A. Logan, proclaimed the day as Decoration Day. In 1882, the name changed to Memorial Day, and people began honoring those who died in all wars. In 1971, President Nixon declared Memorial Day a federal holiday on the last Monday in May. Traditionally, the president lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, and some cities have parades to honor veterans.