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Memorial Day weekend 2018: Event guide and road closures

If you're staying in the D.C. area to mark the unofficial start of the summer, here's your guide to events around town and the road closures they bring.

WASHINGTON — While many may be traveling out of town during the Memorial Day weekend, D.C. is rife with opportunities to observe the holiday and remember fallen servicemen and women.

If you’re staying in the D.C. area to mark the unofficial start of the summer, here’s your guide to events around town and the road closures they bring.

Rolling Thunder

Motorcyclists will be revving through town Sunday, May 27, for the annual Rolling Thunder First Amendment Run.

Motorcyclists are scheduled to leave the North Pentagon parking lot at 12 p.m. Participants will ride through the area of the National Mall and end at West Potomac Park, where they will pay tribute to the fallen.

Thunder Alley, the official vendor site of the organization, will sell patches, pins, T-shirt and more on 22nd Street and Constitution Avenue NW in D.C.

In Arlington County, Washington Boulevard, Route 27, will be closed from Interstate 395 to the Memorial Bridge from 7 a.m. to approximately 4 p.m. for the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally.

In D.C., the following road closures are in place Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.:

  • Constitution Avenue NW from 23rd Street NW to Third Street NW
  • 23rd Street NW from Constitution Avenue NW to Memorial Bridge
  • Third Street NW from Constitution Avenue NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • Independence Avenue SW from Third Street SW to 23rd Street SW

Parking will not be allowed on those streets from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Vehicles parked along the route and in violation of the of the emergency no parking signs will be ticketed and towed, D.C. police said in a news release.

Keep in mind that thousands of motorcyclists are in town and many more will be coming in from the surrounding areas in convoys on Sunday morning. On some highways like I-66, expect the police to close to ramps to allow motorcyclists to travel to the Pentagon for the start of the rally.

Most major roads will see convoys of motorcycles.

For the most updated traffic report, visit WTOP’s traffic center.

National Memorial Day Concert

This year’s concert kicks off at 8 p.m. Sunday on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.

This year’s performers include Allison Janney, The Lt. Dan Band, Leona Lewis, The National Symphony Orchestra and more.

The concert is free and open to the public. General Admission gates open at 5 p.m.

Public entrances to the West Front of the U.S. Capitol:

  • North (Senate) Side of Capitol Square: Third Street NW, and Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  • South (House) Side of Capitol Square: Third Street SW, and Maryland Avenue SW

Road closures will take effect early Friday morning through Monday, May 28, on the following roads:

  • First Street, SW/NW from Independence Avenue to Constitution Avenue
  • Maryland Avenue, SW, from First Street to Third Street
  • Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, from First Street to Third Street

All bags, coolers, backpacks and closed containers will be checked; all guests will have to go through a metal detector.

The following items are prohibited:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Glass bottles
  • Animals (other than service animals)
  • Bicycles
  • Firearms and ammunition (either real or simulated)
  • Explosives of any kind (including fireworks)
  • Knives, blades or sharp objects (of any length)
  • Laser pointers
  • Signs
  • Posters
  • Mace and pepper spray, sticks and poles
  • Electric stun guns
  • Martial arts weapons or devices
  • Umbrellas larger than 36 inches in diameter (those smaller than 36″ will be allowed)
  • Pocket or hand tools such as a “Leatherman”
  • Sealed packages, large boxes, duffel bags, suitcases
  • Drones, model rockets, remote or manually-controlled model gliders, model airplanes or unmanned aircrafts, model boats and/or cars and other unmanned ground or aircraft system.

National Memorial Day Parade

The National Memorial Day Parade, the largest Memorial Day event according to the American Veterans Center’s website, is commemorating its 14th year.

This year’s parade kicks off at 2 p.m. on Monday and will feature The Tuskegee Airmen, Joe Mantegna and Trace Adkins, among other notable people.

The parade route starts at Seventh Street and Constitution Avenue NW, proceeds on Constitution Avenue NW and disbands around 5 p.m. between 18th and 23rd Streets on Constitution Avenue and Virginia Avenue NW.

The following road closures are in place:

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.:

  • Seventh Street between Independence Avenue SW and Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  • Constitution Avenue NW between Sixth Street to Ninth Street NW.

From 1 p.m. until about 5 p.m.:

  • Seventh Street and Constitution Avenue NW to 23rd and Constitution Avenue NW

Arlington National Cemetery

The Arlington National Cemetery will host plenty of events on its ground Memorial Day weekend.

Participants of the Rolling Thunder’s annual Run for the Wall will arrive at Arlington National Cemetery on motorcycles Saturday and conduct a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier beginning at 9 a.m.

The American Legion Riders will have a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tanner Amphitheater beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday.

The Native Youth Alliance will have a wreath-laying ceremony at the Indigenous People Memorial Tree in Section 8 at 11 a.m. Saturday.

The Japanese American Citizens League of Washington, D.C., and Japanese American Veterans Association will have its 70th annual wreath-laying ceremony Sunday at the Pavilion in the Columbarium Courts in Section 63 at 9:30 a.m.

The U.S. Army Military District of Washington will conduct a Presidential Armed Forces full-honor wreath-laying ceremony at 11 a.m. at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on Monday. It will followed by an observance program hosted by the Department of Defense in the Memorial Amphitheater.

Twenty and Four, the Honor Society of Women Legionnaires, will conduct a wreath-laying ceremony Monday at the Civil War Tomb of the Unknown in Section 26 at 1 p.m.

Volunteers with Memorial Day Flowers will place roses and other flowers on the headstones of fallen military service members. Volunteers will be meeting at noon Sunday and at 8 a.m. on Monday.

Visit the memorials

Those wanting to pay their respects to fallen servicemen and women can do so by visiting the many memorials dedicated to year-round remembrance.

From May 25 through May 27, the Poppy Memorial will be on display on the southwestern side of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial consists of the Three Soldiers statue, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial Wall and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. The memorial is located north of the Lincoln Memorial near the intersection of 22nd Street and Constitution Avenue NW.

The Korean War Veterans Memorial on the National Mall has 19 stainless steel statues commemorating those who served on the U.S. Armed Forces that served during the Korean War. It’s located southeast of the Lincoln Memorial and south of the Reflecting Pool on the National Mall.

The National World War II Memorial is located on 17th Street, between Constitution and Independence Avenue SW, at the east end of the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. It honors the 16 million who served during World War II, the 400,000 who died and those who supported the effort at home, according the memorial’s website. 

The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial honors those who were disabled in military service. It’s located east of the Capitol and the Botanic Garden.


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