Memorial Day in DC: Events across the city set to honor sacrifice

Memorial Day is here to kick off the unofficial start of summer, and many Americans are taking the chance to travel and spend time with friends.

But, at the center of Memorial Day, veterans and people across the country are also taking the chance to mourn those who’ve died in the line of duty. There are a number of events taking place in D.C. to commemorate the sacrifice of U.S. soldiers.

Despite the lifting of many pandemic restrictions, some traditions will still look a little different, with limited or no in-person attendance. Public transit will be closed or have altered hours on Monday, so plan trips accordingly.

At 9 a.m., at the National World War II Memorial, several veterans who fought in the war stood and saluted their fallen brothers and sisters.

“We honor the more than 400,000 men and women who never made it home from the Second World War,” said Jeff Reinbold, superintendent of the National Park Service for the National Mall and Memorial Parks. “We commemorate a generation of Americans who emerged from the Great Depression to fight and win the most devastating war in world history.”

Last year’s ceremony was virtual because of COVID-19 concerns.

“On this Memorial Day we once again gather in person, to remember those, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, ‘who gave the last full measure of devotion to their country,’ ” Reinbold said.

Here are some other events taking place in D.C. and around the region on Memorial Day to honor the sacrifice of American soldiers:

  • At 10 a.m., the U.S. Army Military District of Washington will begin a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery, during which President Joe Biden will lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. That area will be off-limits to the public, but, the cemetery is now open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and volunteers interested in helping Memorial Day Flowers Foundation lay roses at headstones on Memorial Day will meet at 8 a.m.
  • President Biden has designated 11 a.m. local time on Memorial Day as a time for people to unite in prayer or reflection.
  • At 1 p.m., the Vietnam Veterans Memorial will hold its wreath-laying ceremony. In-person attendance is limited and the event will be streamed live on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund website and on its Facebook page.
  • U.S. Congress, by law, has designated 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day as a time for all Americans to observe, in their own way, a National Moment of Remembrance.
  • At 4 p.m., the Military Women’s Memorial will hold its 24th annual Memorial Day ceremony. The memorial is located at the gateway to Arlington National Cemetery and the event is free and open to the public.
  • At 5 p.m. local time, the National Memorial Day Parade will air worldwide on the American Forces Network. The parade is being held as a TV-only event this year, with no spectators. Local television networks will broadcast the event Monday starting a 2 p.m.

WTOP’s Acacia James and WTOP’s Neal Augenstein contributed to this report.

Thomas Robertson

Thomas Robertson is an Associate Producer and Web Writer/Editor at WTOP. After graduating in 2019 from James Madison University, Thomas moved away from Virginia for the first time in his life to cover the local government beat for a small daily newspaper in Zanesville, Ohio.

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