Things to Do

Memorial Day Weekend in DC: Tributes and Events

Where to celebrate and pay respects over the long weekend.

Image via Shutterstock.

Events

National Memorial Day Parade
Taking place live for the first time since 2019, the parade pays tribute to veterans and service men and women who’ve sacrificed their lives since the American Revolution. It will include bands and units from all 50 states. Country acts Jimmie Allen and Eli Young Band will perform, and the event will be hosted by Anthony Anderson and Joe Buck. On May 30 starting at 2 PM, the parade will march down Constitution Avenue between 7th and 17th Streets, but can also be viewed on the American Veterans Center’s Facebook and Youtube pages. Eli Young Band will play right before the parade at 1 PM on the corner of Constitution Avenue and 7th St., NW.

National Memorial Day Concert
A line up of celebrity guests and military musical units will perform during PBS’s annual concert, which is taking place on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol (though still closed to the public). There will also be a number of tribute stories as well as a marking of the Lincoln Memorial’s 100th anniversary. PBS will air it all at 8 PM on Sunday, May 29 (it will also stream live from the Memorial Day Concert’s page and be available to watch for two weeks after the live performance).

Rolling to Remember
The annual motorcycle rally was created to call attention to soldiers who are missing in action or prisoners of war, as well as to raise awareness of the growing suicide rate among veterans. Taking place over the entire weekend, a number of events are scheduled for each day, including a candlelight vigil and 2.2 mile walk/run, all leading up to the Rolling To Remember Demonstration Ride on Sunday, May 29. Additional details, as well as times and locations for each event, can be found here.

National Museum of the United States Army
The museum (1775 Liberty Drive, Fort Belvoir) is hosting a wide variety of activities and tributes throughout the weekend. From Friday to Monday, guests will learn about the red poppy flower (known as a symbol of sacrifice) while making paper versions of them that will be included in a Memorial Day display. Screenings of documentary Sunken Roads: Three Generations After D-Day will play at various times throughout the weekend. At 9:30 AM and 3 PM on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, families will be able to participate in simulated humanitarian mission Operation Safe Passage. From 10 AM to 12 PM and 1 to 3 PM throughout the weekend, visitors will also have the chance to learn about army equipment from different eras. There will also be a Memorial Day Remembrance and Moment of Silence at 10 AM on Monday, followed by a National Moment of Silence at 3 PM. For additional information on times and registration details, look here.

Library of Congress
During Memorial Day, the library will be open to the public, hosting a series of exhibits and tours, and allowing visitors to explore areas of the building that normally aren’t accessible.

Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay
On Memorial Day, enjoy kid-friendly activities like cake pop decorating, tie dye, and watermelon eating contests, as well as adult sip and paint, paddle board yoga, and mixology classes. There will also be a flag ceremony and BBQ on the hotel’s lawn (100 Heron Blvd., US-50, Cambridge).

ViVa! Vienna!
From Saturday, May 28 through Monday, May 30, the The Rotary Club of Vienna is putting on their annual Memorial Day charity fair (124 Church St., NE, Vienna). With games, food vendors, rides, and a Memorial Day Tribute on the main stage, this is an event for the whole family to enjoy, while also giving back to the community (proceeds for the event help support over 70 businesses). More information, ticket sales, and a schedule of the event can be found here.

Tributes

Arlington National Cemetery
Many Memorial Day events will take place at the nation’s largest military cemetery. On Saturday, May 28, from 9 AM to 4 PM, take part in Flowers of Remembrance Day by leaving a flower at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

Memorial Day Observances
On Monday, an observance at the World War II Memorial (1750 Independence Ave., SW) will take place from 9 to 10 AM. There will also be an “Observance At The Wall” in front of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial (5 Henry Bacon Drive, NW) from 1 to 2 PM.

Soldiers’ Home National Cemetery
At the country’s first national cemetery (140 Rock Creek Church Rd., NW), take part in a wreath laying ceremony at the John Logan Mausoleum at 10 AM on Memorial Day (Logan popularized Memorial Day celebrations back in 1868). There will also be 30- to 45-minute cemetery tours where you can learn about the noteworthy figures laid to rest there. Register for the free event here.

Prince William County Memorial Day Tribute
The Prince William Board of County Supervisors is hosting a tribute in honor of those who lost their lives serving in the military. The event starts at 10 AM on Friday, May 27, at the Freedom Park War Memorial (1 County Complex, Woodbridge).

Tori Bergel
Editorial Fellow
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