Events in the DC area that commemorate Memorial Day holiday

American Veterans Center President Tim Holbert discusses Monday’s National Memorial Day Parade.

A solemn holiday to honor those who died fighting for the U.S. armed forces, Memorial Day weekend brings events and parades around the D.C. area. Here’s what you need to know.

Memorial Day is also the unofficial start of summer, which means many area swimming pools are starting to open.


See the Poppy Wall of Honor at the National Mall, a tribute to the more than 600,000 U.S. service members who have been lost since World War I. The wall is open Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The National Memorial Day Concert takes place Sunday, May 26, on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The concert starts at 8 p.m. but gates typically open at 5 p.m. It’s free and open to the public. No tickets are necessary. For those wanting to get a sneak peek, the dress rehearsal for the concert takes place Saturday, May 25, with gates opening around 5 p.m. For information on the concert, visit its FAQ page.

In addition to bands from different branches of service and regular mainstay Memorial Day Concert performers Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise, actors Bryan Cranston and Cynthia Erivo will be performing, too. See the full lineup on the PBS website. Can’t make it to D.C.? PBS will air the concert live on Sunday.

The National Memorial Day Choral Festival at the Kennedy Center on Sunday, May 26, at 2 p.m. is a free concert but you need tickets. Listen to classic American patriotic tunes sung by 200 singers accompanied by the U.S. Air Force Band.

The National Mall will have events throughout the weekend and Monday. The World War II Memorial and Memorial Day Observance will be on Saturday, where veterans and dignitaries will lay wreaths at the Freedom Wall. The ceremony is free and open to the public, but registration is requested in advance.

On Monday, wreath-laying ceremonies will take place at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the U.S. Navy Memorial and the Korean War Veterans Memorial. At 5 p.m., Taps Across the National Mall will take place at memorials at the National Mall.

On Memorial Day Monday, catch the National Memorial Day Parade starting at 2 p.m. The parade is hosted by actor-comedians Anthony Anderson and Drew Carey. Anywhere along the parade route on Constitution Avenue between 7th and 17th streets NW offers a view of the spectacle. For information on the schedule, including how to get there, visit the parade website. The event is free and no tickets are required.

More Memorial Day news


At Chesapeake Beach, the George W. Owings, III Stars & Stripes Festival will kick off Saturday, May 25 at 10 a.m. with guest speakers Governor Larry Hogan and Brandon Temple, USAF. At 12 p.m., Family Fun Day will feature a community picnic, live music, rock climbing wall and more.

Join the U.S. Air Force Band for “A Salute to Service: Honoring American’s Heroes” on Sunday, May 26, from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the National Harbor theater.

Rockville will hold a Memorial Day Ceremony and Parade on Monday starting at 9 a.m., featuring military and community groups, marching units, dance troupes and more at the Rockville Town Center.

The City of Bowie holds its annual Memorial Day Parade on Saturday. Get stoked for some marching bands, performing groups and floats! The parade starts at the Belair Annex at 11 a.m. and marches through Belair Drive toward Sussex Lane and Stonybrook Drive.

Gaithersburg will hold the Flags of Honor Display at Bohrer Park at Summit Hall Farm on Saturday starting at 11 a.m. On Sunday, the city will hold a “Flag Retirement” ceremony at 6:30 p.m. You can see other Memorial Day events in Montgomery County by visiting the county’s website.

Laurel’s Annual Joint Memorial Day Service will be Sunday starting at 10:30 a.m. at the Historic Ivy Hill Cemetery. Before the service join the members of the volunteer fire department and rescue squad for a Memorial Wreath Walk.


Place a flower at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier during Flowers of Remembrance, which takes place Sunday, May 26, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Arlington National Cemetery. The event will include a lecture with a historian and an optional walking tour.

The National Memorial Day of Observance on Monday also at Arlington National Cemetery begins at 11 a.m. The schedule includes songs, wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a veterans parade and remarks from dignitaries. The event is free and open to the public. The wreath-laying ceremony, however, will be limited this year to official participants.

The annual Ride of the Patriots starts early Sunday, May 26, at 6:30 a.m. and lasts until 4 p.m. The Ride of the Patriots to Rolling to Remember begins with a pancake breakfast and opening ceremony at the Patriot Harley-Davidson west of Fairfax Circle on Fairfax Boulevard. The escorted ride starts at 9 a.m. and will roll on to the Pentagon and then to D.C.

On Monday, the City of Falls Church is holding its 42nd Annual Memorial Day Parade and Festival packed with a full day of fun, food and festivities, including a 3K Fun Run, a keynote speaker, blood drive and parade on Park Avenue.

The National Museum of the Army in Fort Belvoir has a full weekend of activities starting Friday. There will be an outdoor flag display and a poppy paper flower craft station. On Monday, a moment of silence will be observed at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. In the afternoon, the documentary “They Don’t Die Twice” about the Normandy invasion will be screened.

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Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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