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Did you know that Memorial Day was originally known as "Decoration Day," and observed on May 30? It has fuzzy beginnings that differ in the North and the South (with the American Civil War, and related issues, being a major influence). The name wasn't formally changed until 1968, by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act (note also this proclamation by President Lyndon Johnson), and beginning in 1971, the act officially stated that it was to be observed on the final Monday of each May. There's a lot to read about it - you can spend five minutes, or five years, studying its history. For many, Memorial Day and Labor Day mark the beginning and end of summer; for me, they are (as well as being serious commemorations) convenient placemarks for the French Open and the U.S. Open: two slices of bread that sandwich Wimbledon, the Australian Open being the pickle on the side of the plate.