Memorial Day is a day of remembrance for those who have died serving our country. This is a great time to honor our veterans and famous Americans by visiting the monuments in Washington, DC. The Memorial Day weekend also marks the beginning of the busy summer season and the Washington, DC region celebrates with family friendly events and special services. If you are visiting from out of town, it is a good idea to make hotel reservations as early as possible.
2015 Memorial Day Events
National Memorial Day Concert
Sunday, May 24, 2015, 8 p.m. Gates open at 5 p.m. PBS sponsors a FREE concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The concert features actors Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise, and other guest artists along with the National Symphony Orchestra.
National Memorial Day Parade
Monday, May 25, 2015, beginning at 2 p.m. The parade of Marching Bands and Veterans units from all 50 states steps off at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 7th Streets, NW and proceeds along Constitution Avenue, past the White House, ending at 17th Street. The National Memorial Day Parade is sponsored by the World War II Veterans Committee and includes patriotic floats and helium-filled balloons.
- Sunday, May 24, 2015. Departure from the Pentagon at 12 p.m. Speaker Program and Musical Tribute 1:30 p.m. at the Reflecting Pool across from The Lincoln Memorial. Thousands of motorcycles ride through Washington in an annual demonstration seeking to improve veteran benefits and resolve POW/MIA issues.
- Sunday, May 24, 2015, 10 a.m. The Buffalo Thunder Memorial Motorcycle Ride will begin in the Sears parking lot at 2101 Brightseat Rd in Hyattsville, MD and end at the African American Civil War Memorial and Museumat 1925 Vermont Ave NW in Washington, DC.
- Flags-In. Soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) will be joined by service members from the U.S. Marine Corps Ceremonial and Guard Company, U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard, U.S. Air Force Honor Guard and the U.S. Coast Guard Ceremonial Honor Guard in placing more than 250,000 grave decorating flags at Arlington National Cemetery. The flags will remain through Memorial Day.
- Monday, May 25, 2015, 11 a.m. A wreath-laying ceremony and concert will be held at theTomb of the Unknown Soldier in honor of Memorial Day.
- Monday, May 25, 2015, 4 p.m. The Women In Military Service For America Memorial, located at the gateway to Arlington National Cemetery, will hold a ceremony that includes formal military honors, a keynote address, wreath-layings and the Memorial’s signature event, the scattering of rose petals in tribute to departed comrades. Members of the public are invited to join in the personal tribute segment of the program.
- Saturday, May 23, 2015, 11 a.m. Rolling Thunder visits the Navy Memorial and holds a wreath-laying ceremony featuring special guests and live performances.
- Monday, May 25, 2015, 10 a.m. Fleet Reserve Association Wreath laying, 12 p.m. U.S. Navy Band Concert, 1 p.m. Naval District Washington Wreath laying.
World War II Memorial
Monday, May 25, 2015, 9 a.m. The National Park Service and the Friends of the National World War II Memorial will sponsor a wreath-laying ceremony in honor of our veterans. Guest speakers will give remarks. The theme for the commemoration is “Honoring our Fallen Warriors.” Many surviving WWII veterans will be in attendance.
Monday, May 25, 2015, 1 p.m. Thousands of veterans and their families congregate at The Wall to remember and to honor the U.S. armed forces. The wreath-laying ceremony is open to the public.
Monday, May 25, 2015, 9 a.m. wreath laying ceremony is open to the public. Activities include the national anthem, invocation, speeches, the laying of the wreath and the sounding of Taps.
President Lincoln’s Cottage
Monday, May 25, 2015. Take a free guided tour of the USSAH National Cemetery (predecessor of Arlington National Cemetery) at 10:45 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. A wreath laying ceremony will also take place at the Soldiers’ Home at 10 a.m. Tours of the Cottage will be available from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the regular price of $15 for adults and $5 for children. Visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch. Advanced reservations for Cottage Tours are strongly recommended.
Major Events in Maryland and Virginia
May 23-25, 2015. The city of Rockville’s Memorial Day event is a three-day street festival with live music, children’s entertainment, a parade and more.
Memorial Day Commemoration in Sharpsburg, Maryland
Saturday, May 23, 2015. One of the oldest Memorial Day traditions in the United States will begin with a wreath laying ceremony at the Sharpsburg Town Hall at 11:00 a.m., followed by the Annual Memorial Day Parade at 1:30 p.m. The parade begins at the Sharpsburg Elementary School, proceeds along Main Street (Route 34) and ends at the Antietam National Cemetery. Following the parade at 3:00 p.m., the commemoration ceremony at the Antietam National Cemetery will include music presented by the Boonsboro High School Band and the presentation of colors by the 167th Airlift Wing, West Virginia Air National Guard Base Honor Guard.
Chestertown Tea Party Festival
May 22-24, 2015. The historic river-front town on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay (about an hour and half from DC) kicks off each summer with a weekend of fun for the whole family including a tea toss reenactment, colonial parade, cocktail party, raft race, street performances, colonial crafts, strolling musicians, local fare, 5k & 10 mile run and more.
May 23-25, 2015. Vienna, Virginia celebrates with a community festival including food, crafts, music, carnival rides and a Memorial Day tribute.
Wolf Trap National Park
Sunday, May 24, 2015, 8:00 p.m. Summer Blast Off! “The President’s Own”. The park for performing arts kicks off the summer season with a free performance by the U.S. Marine Band followed by fireworks. The Filene Center gates open at 6:30 p.m. Arrive early because the park closes once capacity is reached.
Alexandria Memorial Day Jazz Festival
Monday, May 25, 2015, 1-7 p.m. Waterfront Park, 1 Prince Street Alexandria, VA. The annual event features big band, swing, and contemporary jazz music. Picnics are allowed and food and beverages will also be for sale. In case of inclement weather, the festival will be relocated to the Lee Center’s Kauffman Auditorium, 1108 Jefferson St. Admission is free.
Falls Church Memorial Day Parade
Monday May 25, 2015, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The City of Falls Church, Virginia celebrates Memorial Day with a festival featuring pony rides, arts and crafts booths, live entertainment, food and a community parade.