Memorial Day was established in 1868 following the end of the American Civil War as General Orders No. 11, Grand Army of the Republic Headquarters:
II. It is the purpose of the Commander in Chief to inaugurate this observance with the hope that it will be kept up from year to year, while a survivor of the war remains to honor the memory of his departed comrades. He earnestly desires the public press to call attention to this Order, and lend its friendly aid in bringing it to the notice of comrades in all parts of the country in time for simultaneous compliance therewith.
Over the past two centuries, wars continue to be fought, and Hollywood has immortalized them on film: