WASHINGTON — Memorial Day is about more than the official start of summer. It's also a time to reflect on all those who gave their lives in service of this country. The National Park Service has several in-person in virtual events this weekend to allow you to pay your respects and honor the fallen. Here's a closer look.
Sunday, May 28
National Memorial Day Concert – 8 p.m.
Featuring all-star musical performances and tributes, the 90-minute broadcast of the 34th annual National Memorial Day Concert will air on PBS and stream on YouTube on Sunday, May 28 at 8 p.m., honoring our men and women in uniform, veterans, their families and all those who have given their lives for our country. After three years of virtual presentations and closed broadcasts due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the public is once again invited to attend the live concert broadcast on the West Lawn of the United States Capitol.
Monday, May 29
Wreath Laying Ceremonies
- World War II Memorial – 9 a.m.
The National Park Service and the Friends of the National World War II Memorial will pay tribute to the more than 400,000 Americans who lost their lives during WWII in a special Memorial Day observance at the World War II Memorial on Monday, May 29 at 9 a.m. The program will also be streamed live to the Friends' Facebook page. As part of the ceremony, World War II veterans will lay wreaths at the Freedom Wall in remembrance of their fallen comrades. The ceremony is free and open to the public but advance registration is requested.
- Vietnam Women's Memorial – 10 a.m.
The ongoing series “Vietnam: In Their Own Words - Story Telling at the Vietnam Women’s Memorial,” continues on Memorial Day with remembrances shared by Vietnam veterans.
- Vietnam Veterans Memorial – 1 p.m.
The annual Memorial Day ceremony is co-hosted yearly by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and the National Park Service to pay tribute to members of America’s armed forces who have made the ultimate sacrifice in Vietnam and in all conflicts. Featured speakers include Air Force Col. (retired) Dennis “Bud” Traynor and Susan Kramer O’Neill, a veteran of three Army hospitals in Viet Nam. For those who cannot attend the ceremony in person, the event will be broadcast on https://www.vvmf.org/live and VVMF’s Facebook page on Monday, May 29, 2023 at 1 p.m. The ceremony is free and open to the public, though advance registration is request
- United States Navy Memorial – 1:30 p.m.
The Navy Memorial will host and be joined by Fleet Reserve Association, Navy League of the United States, Surfacy Navy Association, and the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society for a Memorial Day wreath laying ceremony in honor and memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. This event will feature the U.S. Navy Band and U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard. The ceremony will be live streamed on the Navy Memorial website. The U.S. Navy Memorial is located at 701 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, immediately adjacent to the Archives/Navy Memorial Metro station (Green-Yellow lines).
- Korean War Veterans Memorial – 4 p.m.
The Korean War Veterans Memorial Foundation will host a ceremony and wreath presentation at the Korean War Veterans Memorial on Memorial Day, to honor all who served and made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of freedom. The ceremony is free and open to the public, though advance registration is requested. The ceremony will also be live streamed on the foundation’s Facebook page.
Taps Across the National Mall – 5 p.m.
At 5 p.m. on Memorial Day (Monday, May 29), Taps will be played at ten memorials and sites of future memorials that honor those who have made the supreme sacrifice in the service of their country. Visitors on the National Mall at that time are invited to pause at this time and reflect on the meaning of Memorial Day. Sites at which Taps will be played include:
- African American Civil War Memorial
- American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial
- D.C. War Memorial
- Desert Shield and Desert Storm Memorial (future site)
- Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial
- Global War on Terrorism Memorial (future site)
- Korean War Veterans Memorial
- Vietnam Veterans Memorial
- World War I Memorial
- World War II Memorial
- United States Navy Memorial
Taps Across the National Mall is coordinated by The Trust for the National Mall with support from The Doughboy Foundation.
National Memorial Day Parade - 2 p.m.
Hosted by Anthony Anderson and Joe Buck, the National Memorial Day Parade the nation’s largest Memorial Day salute to the men and women who have sacrificed for our country. The parade will travel Constitution Avenue NW between 7th Street and 17th Street.
If You Go
- The monuments and memorials on the National Mall are open and accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- National Park Service rangers and volunteers (easily identifiable by their bright yellow hats and shirts) are on duty at all of the veterans’ memorials on Memorial Day to answer questions and provide information about how these memorials honor those who gave "the last full measure of devotion" to their country.
- Please show your fellow visitors and the people honored by the memorials the proper respect during your visit. Bicycles and scooters are welcome on the National Mall, but please remember that riding is not permitted within the memorials themselves. Please walk your bike or scooter through the memorials or use the designated parking areas provided. Your assistance in preserving a respectful and safe experience for all visitors is appreciated.
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