Observance marks early Memorial Day

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — A ceremony is being held in the South Carolina city where some historians feel the nation's first Memorial Day was held.

The Monday gathering in Charleston's Hampton Park recalls what was, just after the Civil War, called Decoration Day.

Decoration Day was held to dedicate the graves of Union soldiers who died in a Confederate prisoner of war camp.

The May 1, 1865, event attracted 10,000 people, mostly blacks because many whites left when Charleston was evacuated by the Confederates earlier that year.

It's unclear where the first Memorial Day was observed and some observances were held around the nation even before the war ended in 1865.

Often the town of Waterloo, N.Y., gets credit for the first Memorial Day observance.

Charleston, SC - Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.