Why are there flowers in cemeteries for Memorial Day?

Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the Grand Army of the Republic established Decoration Day, a day to honor the war dead by decorating their graves with flowers. This was initiated by the Grand Army of the Republic at Arlington National Cemetery on May 30th. A ceremony held in Waterloo, NY some two years earlier is recognized as the birthplace of Memorial Day and by the end of 19th century, it was celebrated on May 30th throughout the nation. In 1971, Congress declared it a national holiday and its intention has since been expanded to include all those who have fallen in service of America. Flowers remain a popular memorial for this special occasion.