Memorial Day Parade in Washington DC

  • UPDATED May 09, 2018

Memorial Day is celebrated every year on the last Monday of the month of May to honor the soldiers, who fought and laid down their lives during the American Civil War. It is the day when the people of America all come together to honor the dead soldiers through parades and rallies. 

Washington DC has the most famous National Memorial Day Parade. The whole city comes together as one to celebrate this great day.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Memorial Day, 2018 is barely a month away. If so then here is a list of things to do in Washington if you are planning a visit there on Memorial Day weekend:

1. Attend the National Memorial Day Parade

The National Memorial Day Parade in Washington DC is the largest parade led in the country. The parade consists of youth groups, marching bands, performers and the veterans. Marching bands and veteran units from over 50 states come together and start the march from Constitution Avenue and 7th Streets. Then they advance along Constitution Avenue, pass the White House and then end their march at 17th Street. Many men and women in uniform participate in the parade. About a quarter million of Americans and even tourists come to witness this parade. The participants pass by the nation’s monuments, memorials, and museums. They are greeted along the way by thousands of spectators.

The World War II Veterans Committee sponsors the parade. This year it will take place on 28th May, 2018 from p.m.

If you are visiting Washington DC during this time of the year, do not miss this parade. It is one of the most famous events in the city and even in the country. Stand in solidarity with the city as they honour their dead soldiers. 

2. National Memorial Day Concert

The National Memorial Day concert is held on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol Building and it is a free event. The concert consists of documentaries, live music performances and many other attractions. It pays tribute to the fallen angels who became martyrs fighting for their country. It also salutes their families. Various famous actors, musicians and performers come to this concert every year.

So if you are planning to visit this 2018, do give this concert a visit. Who knows you may even have an encounter with your favourite actor!

3. The Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally

The Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally is organized every year during the Memorial Day weekend. It attracts riders from the entire country to honor the veterans who took part in the Vietnam War. It first started in 1988 as a way of paying tribute to the dead soldiers. 2,500 people participated in it. The event now draws over 900,000 riders every year who embark on this ‘ride for freedom’.  The rally starts from the Pentagon and passes through West Potomac Park.

The Rolling Stone Thunder Motorcycle is one of the most famous events organized in Washington at this time. If you are a motor cycle enthusiast, do think of participating in the event. It will be a memorable experience for you. As a tourist, you can even go and cheer if not participate. 

4. Arlington National Cemetery

The US army, navy and air force all come together to honor the martyrs who laid down their lives for America. Over 200,000 graves are decorated with flags every year in the Arlington National Cemetery. The decorations stay till Memorial Day. Wreath-laying ceremonies and concerts are also held on occasion of Memorial Day.

5. Other memorials

On occasion of Memorial Day, various other memorials take place in different parts of the city. A wreath-laying ceremony is held in the Navy Memorial. These are followed by live performances which have special guests.

The World War II Memorial too takes place with a wreath-laying ceremony. Many surviving World War II veterans attend this ceremony to pay tribute to their fellow soldiers who died.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is also a wreath-laying ceremony. The surviving veterans and their families attend this memorial and pay tribute to the US armed forces. 

The Air Force Memorial takes place to honour the men who served in the air-force. The wreath-laying ceremony takes place here too. Other things in the memorial include the singing of the national anthem, invocation, various speeches, etc. 

As a tourist, it will be a great miss if you do not visit some of these memorials on Memorial Day.

6. Memorial Day Commemoration in Sharpsburg, Maryland

The Memorial Day Commemoration at Sharpsburg is one of the oldest wreath-laying ceremonies in the United States. It is followed by an annual Memorial Day Parade. The parade starts from Sharpsburg Elementary School. It then advances along Main Street and finally ends at the Antietam National Cemetary. Following the parade, the commemoration ceremony includes music performances too. 

This commemoration ceremony is one of the oldest in Washington. So if you are visiting the capital during Memorial Day do not forget to drop in and witness this ceremony. It will indeed be memorable. 

Thus, Memorial Day is celebrated with a lot of events all around the city. Tribute is paid to the dead soldiers and their families are honoured too. Surviving veterans attend these ceremonies every year to honour their fellow soldiers who could not make it home from war. 

Whether you are an American or not, take part in these events on Memorial Day and see how the city embraces you. Be a part of celebrating the war heroes while visiting the US capital this 2018 and you will not regret the experience.