Memorial Day used to be called Decoration Day. We celebrate this because we remember those who have died for our nation. Memorial Day was proclaimed on May 5, 1868, by General John Logan. He was the national commander of The Grand Army of the Republic. Memorial day was first observed in May 30, 1868. This oringinated after the Civil War to commemorate those fallen in the Civil War. Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory.