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Washington DC Memorial Day Guide showcases all the celebrations and events that honor our armed forces and veterans during the Memorial Day weekend in our Nation's Capitol.

Washington DC Memorial Day

The Washington DC Memorial Day guide is the top resource for celebrations and events honoring our armed forces and veterans that take place in our Nation's Capitol. The American tradition of Memorial Day began more than 100 years ago. It was at the end of a brutal war, a war in which brother fought brother and the best of friends became the worst of enemies. It was the Civil War - one of the worst wars ever fought by the people of this nation - and it was fought on our own soil.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday observed annually all over the United States on the last Monday of May. In the early years of the holiday it was known as Decoration Day, and originated after the American Civil War in order to honor the deceased Union soldiers of the Civil War. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all US armed forces and veterans who have died in all wars: Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who fought and died while serving in the US Armed Forces. As a marker it typically marks the start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

Memorial Day is a day to celebrate and thank all the armed forces and veterans who have fought and died (or are MIA) to create the freedoms we enjoy today. Many people travel to the final resting place of their deceased relatives or friends in cemeteries around the country to decorate their graves on this national holiday. Additionally, Memorial Day is about celebrating all people - all of our ancestors and forefathers - who have created the world we live in today and who have paved the long road we walk down into the future.

· Memorial Day Events
· History and Information
· Washington DC Hotels
· Image Galleries
· Poetry
· Unknown Soldier

Washington DC Memorial Day Weekend Event Calendar

As we are the Nation's Capital there are many celebrations to partake in during Washington DC Memorial Day Weekend. The National Memorial Day Parade runs from 7th street, past the White House to 17th street along Constitution Avenue. There is a free concert given by the National Symphony Orchestra on the West Lawn of the Capitol. No description of Memorial Day in Washington DC would be complete without mentioning the famous motorcycle rally Rolling Thunder.

Friday, May 25

Saturday, May 26

Sunday, May 27

Monday, May 28

Washington DC Memorial Day Gifts and Souvenirs

Washington DC Memorial Day Gifts and Souvenirs Washington DC Memorial Day - Fun Gifts for the Family

Click on the picture at left to visit our gift shop where you will be able to browse dozens of items which are D.C. related. Need to find something educational? No problem. We carry all manner of gifts intended to educate, entertain, enlighten and encourage awareness of the general public on many topics and about one of this country's most revered federal holidays. In our shop we have many gifts to interest just about everyone (regardless of age) that will increase knowledge about the rich history of this nation's capital: Washington, D.C. Come over and take a look!
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Washington DC Memorial Day Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers Washington DC Memorial Day - The Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers

The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., is also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and has never been officially named. The Tomb of the Unknowns stands atop a hill overlooking Washington, DC. On March 4, 1921, Congress approved the burial of an unidentified American soldier from World War I in the plaza of the new Memorial Amphitheater.
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Washington DC Memorial Day Armed Forces ans Veterans Vietnam Memorial Wall Washington DC Memorial Day - Vietnam Memorial Wall

Designed by Yale student Maya Ying Lin, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was built to honor the memory of those who served in the Vietnam War. Over 58,000 names are etched in the black granite Memorial whose walls point towards the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial.
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Washington DC Memorial Day Armed Forces ans Veterans Rolling Thunder Washington DC Memorial Day - Vietnam and Motorcycles - Rolling Thunder

It always rains on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend in DC, or so it seems. And the weather forecast said that this year would be no different from years past. But when so many had traveled so far to make the pilgrimage over the Memorial Bridge, past the US Capitol, and on to the Vietnam Memorial, a little rain in the forecast was not going to dissuade any of the 250,000 motorcyclists expected for this annual event. Surprisingly, despite the cool temperatures, the gloomy forecast, and the overcast skies, it did not rain on those who participated in Rolling Thunder this year.
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Memorial Day Photo Galleries

Images help us remember special days and events. Come along on our journey as we capture memorable times and places in our Photo Galleries.

Washington DC Memorial Day Parade Washington DC Memorial Day Parade
US veterans marched at the Memorial Day parade held in Washington DC. Thousands of US veterans and citizens participated the parade to commemorate the Memorial Day which came on the last Monday of each May. The nine-block march along Independence Avenue featured bands, floats, vintage automobiles and vintage servicemen.
Washington DC Memorial Day World War II Memorial Dedication Ceremony World War II Memorial Dedication Ceremony
President George Walker Bush joined former Presidents George Herbert Walker Bush and William Jefferson Clinton, Bob Dole, Tom Hanks, Tom Brokaw, General P. X. Kelley, dignataries, hundreds of thousands of World War II veterans and their families to officially dedicate the granite and bronze World War II Memorial on the National Mall May 29, 2004.
Washington DC Memorial Day USA Armed Forces and Veterans Washington DC Memorial Day Ceremony
The gift of flowers honors the beauty and the brevity of life and evoke memories of other days. President Bush paid tribute at a Memorial Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery to members of America's military who died in combat. The President placed a beautiful red, white, and blue wreath in front of the tomb of unknowns.
Washington DC Memorial Day Rolling Thunder USA Armed Forces and Veterans Washington DC Memorial Day - Rolling Thunder, 2003
Rolling Thunder was held to pay respect and honor towards the brave Americans that have served and gave the ultimate sacrifice for America and the world. Operation Rolling Thunder (also known as the "Rolling Thunder Program" was the code name for a U.S. military campaign during the Vietnam War, the bombing of North Vietnam by air units of the U.S. Seventh Air Force, Task Force 77, and the South Vietnamese Air Force. Rolling Thunder was the first of three sustained bombing campaigns against North Vietnam, followed in 1972 by Operation Linebacker and Operation Linebacker II.

What is Memorial Day?

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday that is observed on the last Monday of May (observed in 2010 on May 31). It was formerly known as Decoration Day. This holiday commemorates US men and women who have died in the line of duty for our country. It began first to honor Union soldiers who died during the American Civil War. After World War I, it was expanded to include those who died in any war or military action. One of the longest standing traditions is the running of the Indianapolis 500, which has been held in conjunction with Memorial Day since 1911.

On May 5, 1868, General John Logan proclaimed this day a holiday through his General Order no. 11; it was called Decoration Day. Decoration day was first observed on May 30, 1868. In 1882, the name Decoration day was changed to Memorial Day, and in 1971, Memorial Day was declared a federal holiday to be held the last Monday of May every year.

It is also traditionally viewed as the beginning of summer by many, for many schools are dismissed for the summer around Memorial Day.


Many people observe this holiday by visiting cemeteries and memorials. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 pm Washington time. Another tradition is to fly the US flag at half-staff from dawn until noon local time. Volunteers place a US flag upon each gravesite located in a National Cemetery.

In addition to remembrance, Memorial Day is also a time for picnics, family gatherings, and sporting events. Some Americans view Memorial Day as the unofficial beginning of summer and Labor Day as the unofficial end of the season. The national Click it or ticket campaign ramps up beginning Memorial Day weekend, noting the beginning of the most dangerous season for auto accidents and other safety related incidents. The USAF "101 Critical days of summer" also begin on this day as well. Some Americans use Memorial Day to also honor any family members who have died, not just servicemen.

Memorial Day formerly occurred on May 30, and some, such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW), advocate returning to this fixed date, although the significance of the date is tenuous. The VFW stated in a 2002 Memorial Day Address, "Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed a lot to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day." Hawaii's Senator Daniel Inouye, a World War II veteran, has repeatedly introduced measures to return Memorial Day to its traditional day since 1998.

Now Memorial Day is somewhat of a celebration when people come together to honor their close friends or relatives who died in combat. It is still very much about honoring America's fallen soldiers, such as the gatherings at places like Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia to visit such moving memorial tributes such as the tomb of the unknown soldier, which represents "every man" who with bold patriotism layed down their life for this country.

Washington DC Memorial Day Patriotic Poetry

The Unknown Soldier
21 Gun Salute

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