Wondering what to do this Memorial Day in Washington, DC? Celebrating the holiday and remembering those in uniform is easy in the nation’s capital, where each hour a unique and meaningful event pays tribute to the selfless service and sacrifice of our active duty military and veterans. No one does memorials better than Washingtonians. Get ready for three days of barbecue, flag waving, and moving ceremonies; it’s Memorial Day in Washington, DC.
Nothing kicks off the summertime season better than a parade – and the National Memorial Day Parade is the largest of its kind in America. Marching bands, military units, bedazzled floats, variety performers and, of course, veterans will parade west down Constitution Avenue from 7th to 17th Streets. Hundreds of thousands of spectators in DC, and millions more watching the televised parade across the nation, wave flags and champion our country’s heroes.
If there’s a sound that defines Memorial Day in Washington, DC, it must certainly be the hum of 900,000 riders in the annual Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally, which courses from the Pentagon to West Potomac Park. Since 1988, this “ride for freedom” honors those missing in action and prisoners of the Vietnam War. And while the colors of the day could be none other than red, white and blue, it’s been suggested that a touch of orange will join the mix this year: the presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mr. Donald Trump is set to join the rally.
If neither parades nor rallies are written on your bucket list of things to do this Memorial Day in Washington, DC, perhaps taking in America’s pastime is the ticket. This year, our hometown heroes the Washington Nationals take on the St. Louis Cardinals in three games over the weekend. What could be more American than baseball? And with the Nats overall dominance, you’re guaranteed some great sport.
Sunday evening is the time to strike up the band during the National Memorial Day Concert, streamed live on PBS for over 25 years. Saluting the sacrifice made by our nation’s troops, the free open-air concert from the West Lawn of the US Capitol boasts star-studded talent and surprise celebrity appearances, and is this year hosted by Tony Award winner Joe Mantegna and Emmy Award winner Gary Sinise. Who doesn’t love boogying on the National Mall to The Beach Boys?
Certainly the most poignant and moving event during Memorial Day in Washington, DC is the Presidential Armed Forces Full Honor Wreath-Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery (pictured). A moment of silence and rifle salute is given in remembrance of fallen American heroes, followed by an observance program in Arlington’s Memorial Amphitheater. Preceding the ceremony, servicemen and women place American flags at more than 250,000 gravestones throughout the cemetery.
We at Spey salute the men and women of our armed forces. Honoring those who wear our nation’s uniform, including the families they leave behind in order to serve our country, is what celebrating Memorial Day in Washington, DC is all about. The important thing is to never forget those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms – those who have lost their lives in service to America. It is to them we raise a toast in memory and honor this Memorial Day.