Memorial Day, originally Decoration Day, is observed to honor all Americans who died while in military service. The observance originated after the American Civil War and was held on the last Monday in May to commemorate both Union and Confederate soldiers who died during the war.

In many parts of the country, it is traditional to visit and decorate the graves of family and friends.

In Idyllwild, Memorial Day is observed at American Legion Post 800 starting at 11 a.m. Monday, May 25. Post Commander Danny Richardson said the ceremony will include an honor guard, a traditional folding of the American flag, 13 folds commemorating the wars in which American soldiers fought, a reading of the names of legionnaires who have passed, a rifle salute and the playing of taps.

Afterward, the post’s Ladies Auxiliary will host a free luncheon for all attending.

Memorial Day also is a time to celebrate the living, with picnics and recreation with friends and family. Memorial Day 2015 launches new recreational opportunities available at Lake Hemet. For the first time, swimming will be allowed at the lake. Kelly Lam, marketing director for the California Parks Company, operator of Lake Hemet Market and Campground, said that snows had postponed the opening of a floating water park originally scheduled for Memorial Day, but that swimming would be available on Memorial Day weekend.

“The lake itself is technically open for swimming on the weekend,” he said. Lam said the floating water park would have an official grand opening on Saturday, June 6. “It will be a free event,” said Lam. “Come early and have a good time. There will also be free food at the grand opening.”