Memorial Day, a day to honor those men and women who died while in military service to our country. The holiday was originally called Decoration Day a few years after the end of the Civil War and was celebrated every year on May 30th. The day was declared an official Federal Monday holiday by Congress in 1971. There are many Memorial Day events in the Washington D.C. and Baltimore areas from festivals, concerts and parades to solemn ceremonies to honor those who have served from the American Revolution to current overseas conflicts.
Memorial Day Events in Washington D.C.
Washington D.C. is the epicenter of Memorial Day weekend activities. The events kick off on Sunday, May 24th with the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally which departs the North Pentagon parking lot at noon and arrives at the West Potomac Park for special programs. Rolling Thunder Run is dedicated to keeping the memory of Vietnam War POW’s and veterans alive. Sunday May 24th is the National Memorial Day Concert sponsored by PBS. The concert featuring the National Symphony Orchestra as well as television/film/stage performers is hosted by Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise takes place on the west lawn of the Capitol Building. The concert pays tribute to those that have served our country as well as to the sacrifices made by their families and loved ones.
The National Memorial Day Parade of Washington D.C. salutes military and fallen heroes from the American Revolution to conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. The parade is held on Monday, May 25th starting at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 7th Street NW at 2pm and continues down Constitution Avenue past the White House to 17th Street. The parade will have marching bands and veterans units representing all 50 states, patriotic floats and helium balloons. The parade, sponsored by the World War II Veterans Committee, is the largest Memorial Day event in the United States. Over 250,000 people line the streets of the parade to honor those who have sacrificed to secure America’s freedom.
Memorial Day in Washington D.C. is a great time to visit the many memorials along the National Mall. There will be special wreath laying programs and special events hosted by the National Park Service at the Navy Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, World War II Memorial and the Air Force Memorial. Do not miss a visit to Arlington Cemetery on Memorial Day. It is an awe-inspiring site to see the thousands of flags that are placed at the gravestones of our fallen heroes. There are over 250,000 flags placed by the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (Old Guard) and other military and civic groups. There will also be a special wreath-laying event and concert at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier starting at 10:30am with a prelude by the U.S. Marine Band.
Memorial Day Events in Baltimore Area
There are many Memorial Day events as well. Rockville, Maryland hosts Hometown Holidays from May 23rd to May 25th at Rockville Town Center. There will be children’s rides, family activities, multiple stages for entertainment, the Taste of Rockville and a Fine Arts festival. On Monday, May 25th, Rockville hosts the 71st Annual Memorial Day Parade. The parade features 70 parade units including marching bands, floats, military units, community groups and more.
The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore hosts their biggest fundraiser of the year, Brew at the Zoo, on May 23rd and 24th from 1 to 7pm. You can sample great food, local, regional and national beers and hear great music all in the middle of the zoo! The Sowebo Arts and Music Festival is held on Sunday, May 24th from noon to 8pm at the historic Hollins Market. The free festival has food, drink, music and an art show.
There are so many great things to do over the Memorial Day Weekend in the Washington D.C. and Baltimore Areas. There are so many historical places, parks and beaches that can visited in just a few hours trip from Baltimore. Enjoy the holiday and take a moment to think about those who have served to protect our freedoms over the last two and half centuries.
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