CUMBERLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Thousands of communities paused to commemorate Memorial Day with parades, concerts and grave decorations.

The practice began spontaneously and popularized during the Civil War.

Decoration Day was adopted as a Federal Holiday in 1868. By World War II, it was generally called Memorial Day. In 1971, it became a Monday holiday enabling people to enjoy a three day weekend.

In Cumberland, General Gerard Bolduc of the Maine National Guard encouraged children to talk to a veteran to learn their story of sacrifice.