The history of Memorial Day in the United States is complex. The U. S. Department of Veterans' Affairs recognizes that approximately 25 places claim to have originated the holiday. At Columbus [Georgia] State University there is a Center for Memorial Day Research, and the University of Mississippi incorporates a Center for Civil War Research that has also led research into Memorial Day's origins. The practice of decorating soldiers' graves with flowers is an ancient custom. Soldiers' graves were decorated in the U. S. before and during the American Civil War. Many of the origination claims are myths, unsupported by evidence while others are one-time cemetery dedications or funeral tributes. In 2014, one scholarly effort attempted to separate the myths and one-time events from the activities that actually led to the establishment of the national holiday.
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