On Memorial Day (Monday, May 31), Americans will once again pay tribute to our nation’s heroes — men and women who have given their lives while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. However, the Memorial Day weekend also marks the beginning of summer with a host of other ways to celebrate the holiday, with both in-person and virtual events.
The District celebrates Memorial Day weekend in ways that few other cities can match. And with most restrictions having been eased or lifted as COVID-19 infections and deaths finally begin to decline, many anticipate that this year we’ll experience a semblance of normality.
Besides a plethora of events, there are plenty of monuments, museums and memorials to visit which put the spotlight on the selfless service of our active-duty military and veterans.
Here are just a few of the events you may want to enjoy:
An annual tradition returns to Washington, D.C., in a new version: The National Memorial Day Parade: Our Sacred Honor. Stories of sacrifice, from the American Revolution to today, will be told along Constitution Avenue through live, on-site historical reenactors, veterans and active-duty military personnel, joined by musical performances and celebrity appearances. It will “live” in the District, filmed for a television special airing from Memorial Day through July 4 on ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox stations nationwide. The always-anticipated holiday tradition will include special remote celebrity tributes and musical performances from across the U.S., from Philadelphia’s Independence Hall to New York City, Nashville and Los Angeles.
Rolling to Remember also provides another way for Americans to honor our veterans. The motorcycle rally on May 30 counts as another way to raise awareness of critical issues faced by veterans every day, as well as in tribute to those missing in action and prisoners of war. Rolling to Remember aims to deliver a message to Congress and the American people that veterans still need our help as the group struggles with a suicide crisis. Visit the event website for scheduling updates, registration and attendance info for this year’s procession.
The National Memorial Day Concert salutes the sacrifice made by the men and women in uniform, as well as their families. The free annual concert will be aired on PBS from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Sunday, May 30 at 8 p.m. Actors Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna will host the proceedings, which will feature numerous other celebrity performers including Gladys Knight and the Four Tops. The event will also be livestreamed online and will be available on-demand for two weeks after the performance.
Finally, there’s the National Mall which features plenty of ways to honor American servicemen and servicewomen. Visit the magnificent National World War II Memorial and its famous effervescent fountain. Stop to pay your respects at the Korean War Veterans Memorial. And by taking in the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial, you will be reminded of the tragic, human cost of war.