Many Americans have no idea that Memorial Day exists as a solemn time to reflect and honor the nation’s fallen military men and women.

“What is Memorial Day?” ranks near the very top of the list of Google searches related to the holiday.

America’s bewilderment about the meaning of the holiday, which is now celebrated more for kicking off summer, opening beaches and lighting barbecue grills than honoring those who sacrificed their lives for the nation.

“Why do we celebrate Memorial Day?” Americans ask. “Is Memorial Day a holiday?” they search. And between 2011 and 2013, “Is the mall open on Memorial Day?” crept into the top 10 questions searched about the holiday on the web. What is the meaning of all this? Good question, and it’s one people asked over and over again.

memorial-dayWhen the observance was first declared in 1868 by General John Logan, it was called Decoration Day in reference to a tradition of decorating the graves of those whose lives were lost in the Civil War and its set date was May 30.