Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on May 5, 1868 by General John Logan, National Commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on May 30th, 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate Soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890, it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). Now the holiday is celebrated on the last Monday in May to ensure a three-day weekend for Federal holidays. There are several southern states that have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead.