WASHINGTON, May 23, 2014 — Memorial Day, which became a national holiday in 1971, is a day to honor men and women who have died while serving in the United States military. Many Americans spend the day at patriotic concerts and parades or visiting memorials and cemeteries.
Memorial Day also marks the unofficial start of summer and the Washington D.C. area hosts many family friendly activities throughout the weekend.
Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally
Date: Sunday, May 25, 2014
Time: 12 noon
Location: Constitution Ave and Independence Ave
Rolling Thunder is an annual motorcycle ride to honor veterans. Rolling Thunder main mission is to call for the government to recognize and protect Prisoners of War and those Missing in Action. Today they provide financial support, food, clothing and other essentials to veterans, veterans’ families, veterans groups, and women’s’ crisis centers.
Rolling Thunder activities have evolved into an entire weekend of events.
Friday evening at 9 p.m. they hold a candle light vigil at the Vietnam Memorial
Saturday at 11 a.m. there will be a wreath laying ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial.
The motorcycle rally ride will start at the Pentagon, then cross the Arlington memorial Bridge, down Constitution Ave, towards the Capitol Building, turn at 3rd Street and again at Independence Avenue proceeding around the National Mall and ending near the Lincoln Memorial.
The best sports to watch the rally are along the Arlington National Bridge and Constitution Ave.
Streets will be closed and parking will be difficult so consider taking the Metro downtown.
National Memorial Day Concert
Date: Sunday, May 25, 2014
Time: 8 p.m. Gates open at 5 p.m.
Location: West lawn of the U.S. Capitol, First St. NW, Washington D.C.
The free concert in Washington D.C. is a Memorial Day tradition in the area. The concert will feature dramatic readings, documentary footage, live music and an all star line up.
The festivities will be hosted by actors and strong veteran supporters, Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise and will feature the National Symphony Orchestra.
Other celebrities expected to perform are the 2013 “The Voice” winner Danielle Bradbery, renowned tenor Anthony Kearns, Broadway and television star Megan Hilty, Jennifer Nettles and actress Dianna Wiest.
The U.S. Joints Chief of Staff participate in the concert every year to honor the sacrifice made by those in uniform.
This year the concert will highlight Army Ranger Kris Stonesifer who was the first to die in battle in Afghanistan.
National Memorial Day Parade
Date: Monday, May 26, 2014
Time: 2 p.m.
Location: Constitution Ave.
The parade is sponsored by the World War II Veterans Committee.
The annual parade is a family friendly tradition which includes musical performers and celebrity veterans and supporters of the military, including Pat Sajak, Gary Sinise, Joe Mantegna, and Miss America.
The parade begins at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 7th Streets, NW and proceeds along Constitution Avenue, past the White House, ending at 17th Street.
Arlington National Cemetery
Date: Monday, May 26, 2014
Time: 10:30 a.m.
Location: Memorial Amphitheater
A concert by the United States Navy band will begin at 10:30 a.m. A wreath laying ceremony will take place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at 11 a.m. followed by an observance program in the amphitheater. Seating is limited and will be available on a first come basis.
More than a quarter of a million flags will be placed in front of servicemembers gravestones in the cemetery by the 3rd Infantry.
The Old Guard soldiers will remain in the cemetery throughout the weekend to ensure that each fallen hero’s flag remains in place.
A memorable tribute to fallen servicemen is the vigil kept 24 hours a day 365 days of the year at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The impressive changing of the guard ceremony occurs every half hour until the cemetery closes at 7 p.m.
While downtown enjoying the Memorial Day activities, make sure you take some time to visit the many war memorials along the National Mall.
The World War II memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Korean War Memorial are all a must see on Memorial Day.
The Lincoln Memorial is worth a visit to read one of the most powerful speeches about the sacrifice of war and the Washington Monument is finally open to the public after a year of being closed for repairs.Click here for reuse options!
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