Though many celebrate and pay tribute to fallen soldiers throughout the year, Memorial Day has been designated as the day Americans remember and honor the men and women who have died in service of this nation.

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day, because of the decorating of the grave, however, some may wonder where this tradition originated, and many towns in the Eastern U.S. eagerly stake that claim.

According to the Civil War Center, here are 13 towns with stories claiming that Memorial Day began within their city borders by their citizens.

Arlington Heights, Va.

In April of 1862, in Arlington Heights, a chaplain and some ladies were discussing how lonely the graves of their soldiers looked and decided they would pull together flowers and lay them there.

And in 1874 when Congress made May 30 a legal holiday, one of the ladies, a Mrs. Evans received formal recognition by the Grand Army for her efforts.

Boalsburg, Pa.
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When Miss Emma Hunter visited her father's grave to decorate it on the 4th of July in 1864, she had the idea to decorate the graves of the soldiers also buried in the same cemetery.

She came back with wreaths and flowers for the grave of every soldier. And because of this event, years later Boalsberg believes itself to be the "Birthplace of Memorial Day."

Knoxville, Tenn.
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In the spring of 1865, a surgeon, Fred W. Byers, was traveling by train towards East Tennessee. The train made a stop to stock up on wood, and the surgeon witnessed several young ladies laying bouquets and wreaths on tops of the graves of soldiers in a cavalry fight, whom they did not even know.

Jackson, Miss.
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In April of 1865, Mrs. Vaughan (Sue Landon Adams) founded Decoration Day when she decorated the graves of Federal and Confederate soldiers in the Jackson cemetery with garlands.

The night before Gen. Lee surrendered at Appomatox, and the Confederates were on the verge of defeat.

It is recorded on the state monument at Jackson, Miss., that Mrs. Vaughan is the founder of Decoration Day.

Kingston, Ga.

Kingston's claim on Decoration Day may be small, but it is a claim nonetheless. Along a historic road, is a marker that states, "First Decoration, or Memorial Day."

Charleston, S.C.

In May of 1865, during the first free celebration of May Day in South Carolina, thousands of African-American children covered the graves of the soldiers who were made prisoners by the rebels in Charleston.

James Redpath, with the help of several recently freed slaves built a fence around the graves and resolved to erect a monument in their honor.

Columbus, Miss.

After regularly visiting the Friendship cemetery and cleaning the weeds from graves of fallen Confederate soldiers, and replacing them with flowers, the ladies of Columbus decided this should become an annual event.

The first celebration of Decoration Day here took place on April 25, 1866.

Columbus, Ga.

In hopes of finding comfort, the widow and daughter of Col. Charles Williams would visit his grave daily and put wreaths of flowers on it.

And in March of 1866, Mrs. Williams requested the people of the South set aside a certain day, April 26, that would be honored year after year, to cover the graves of their dead with flowers.

Memphis, Tenn.

Printed in the Memphis Daily Argus, was an invite to decorate the graves of the dead in the Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis, on April 26, 1866.

The day after, the newspaper stated that April 26 would be set aside every year to be spent honoring and memorializing those who died for the independence of the South.

Carbondale, Ill.

After General John A. Logan, the commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic oversaw the first Decoration Day celebration, a stone marker was placed at the location of the celebration in Carbondale.

Waterloo, N.Y.

As Henry Welles watched the celebrations surrounding the return of war heroes, he said, while it was good, they should also pay honor to the patriots who had died by putting flowers on their graves.

Welles's suggestion became a reality a year later when he worked with General John B. Murray, and on May 5, 1866 the first Memorial Day was held in Waterloo.

Richmond, Va.
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On May 10, 1866, the people of Richmond, Va. honored the death of Stonewall Jackson by going to the Hollywood and Oakwood cemeteries and decorating the graves of Confederate soldiers.

The Ladies' Hollywood Memorial Association was formed with the express purpose to care for the graves of their heroic dead on May 31, 1866.

Petersburg, Va.
Deseret News archives

June 9, 1866 was named as a day for "perpetual remembrance" in Petersburg, for the soldiers who died two years before.

Mrs. Judge Joynes, a Petersburg woman gathered other women of the town together into an association that made it their purpose to decorate the graves of their fallen.