Memorial Day Activities in Washington DC

There may be no better place to honor those who have fallen defending our country than in our nation's capital. With a wide variety of activities, concerts, performances and monuments, Washington, D.C., provides plenty of opportunity to honor those who died to give us our freedom. Below are just a few choices that Washington has to offer.

The National Memorial Day Parade

This popular annual event kicks off every Memorial Day Monday, proceeding along Constitution Avenue from 7th Street to 17th Street N.W. The parade typically features around 200 entries, including bands and groups from all 50 states, and highlights veterans' groups throughout the country.

PBS National Memorial Day Concert

Another annual event in the nation's capital, the National Memorial Day Concert takes place on the west lawn of the Capitol on the Sunday evening of Memorial Day weekend. The concert features patriotic music, video montages, documentary footage and readings from celebrities to honor veterans. The concert is broadcast live on PBS and is free to the public.

Arlington National Cemetery Wreath Laying

One of the more somber events taking place on Memorial Day is the annual wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery. The president usually is there to lay the wreath, and the cermony is attended by uniformed officers of all branches of the military. It is a powerful experience and is free to the public, although the cemetery stresses proper conduct and respect during all memorial ceremonies.

Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally

For over 20 years, the motorcycle group known as Rolling Thunder holds a rally in support of POWs and MIAs at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday by riding from the Pentagon to the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall, where a musical tribute will take place.

Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Presentation of Colors

Also on Memorial Day, a ceremony takes place at 1:00 p.m. at the National Veteran's Memorial on the Mall, including speeches by distinguished guests and a wreath-laying ceremony similar to the one at Arlington National Cemetery.

Keywords: Memorial Day festivities, Washington DC celebrations, Veterans celebrations

About this Author

Chris Blake has been writing professionally since 2007. His work has appeared on sites such as eHow and Trails. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science from West Virginia Wesleyan College.

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