Historic places to celebrate Memorial Day this year

Historic Sites On This Road Trip

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971. Many Americans observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries or memorials, holding family gatherings and participating in parades. Unofficially, Memorial Day marks the beginning of the summer season.

We've listed special places to celebrate and to honor the people who served in the military. Some events are well known and some are smaller events at local institutions. If you know any which you think should be added to this list, put them in the comments.


2018 Celebrate Commemorate Parade in Waterloo, NY

2019 Celebrate Commemorate Memorial Day
May 24 - 27, 2019
Waterloo, New York

Celebrate Memorial Day weekend at the "Birthplace of Memorial Day." This annual event is loaded with events including the annual parade, exhibits, concerts, car shows, Tribute to the Fallen walk, living history event and many more. This year's Freedom Parade will be on May 25. Participants will line up at 10:30 a.m. and step out promptly at 11 a.m. for the march down Main Street.

More about 2019 Celebrate Commemorate Memorial Day here.



2018 National Memorial Day Concert

2019 National Memorial Day Concert
May 26, 2019
West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.

An annual broadcast spanning for almost three decades, the National Memorial Day Concert is dedicated to our men and women in uniform, their families at home and all those who have given their lives for our country. Featuring a star-studded line up including the National Symphony Orchestra, the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, the U.S. Army Chorus, the U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters and many more.

More about the 2019 National Memorial Day Concert here.



The National WWII Museum - Memorial Day 2018

Memorial Day 2019 at The National WWII Museum
May 27, 2019
New Orleans, Louisiana

Highlighting the service and sacrifice of the fallen by working with the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War II. This three-day event will feature a concert event by the Marine Corps Band New Orleans, a commemoration ceremony and a moment of silence for our fallen before ringing the Normandy Liberty Bell.

More about Memorial Day 2019 at The National WWII Museum here.



Memorial Day Weekend 2018 at the National WWI Museum and Memorial

Memorial Day Weekend 2019 at The National WWI Museum and Memorial
May 24 - 27, 2019
Kansas City, Missouri

Spend the Memorial Day with various activities throughout the weekend including helicopter and vehicle displays, hands on history events, concert events and dedication ceremony. The Museum also invites the public to “find your World War I connection” and discover how the Great War affected your family through records, photographs and more.

More about Memorial Day Weekend 2019 at The National WWI Museum and Memorial here.



151st Gettysburg Memorial Day Parade and Ceremonies

152nd Gettysburg Memorial Day Parade and Ceremonies
May 27, 2019
Gettysburg, Pennsylvania 

One of the oldest continuing ceremonies in the country in honor of those who died serving the country, the Gettysburg Memorial Day Parade features many flags of past and present military members, prominent speakers, reenactors and musical performances. The Memorial Day Ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. at the Rostrum in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery.

More about the 152nd Gettysburg Memorial Day Parade and Ceremonies here.



Memorial Day Remembrance at Bennett Place State Historic Site

Memorial Day Remembrance at Bennett Place State Historic Site
May 25 and 26, 2019
Durham, North Carolina

Annual Memorial Day Remembrance: The American Soldier Through the Ages. Bennett Place State Historic Site.

Join military living historians representing the American soldier of all time periods throughout our nation’s history in this annual Memorial Day remembrance. A Special traveling exhibit entitled “Profiles of Honor” will be on site for both days.

More about the Memorial Day Remembrance at Bennett Place State Historic Site here.



Memorial Day Weekend at Arlington National Cemetery

Memorial Day weekend at Arlington National Cemetery
May 20 - 30, 2019
Arlington, Virginia

Memorial Day is a day to honor our nation's heroes in solemn remembrance. Events taking place at Arlington National Cemetery include an Honor Brigade, wreath laying ceremonies, Sunrise phot shoot and National Memoral Day Observance among others.

More about Memorial Day weekend at Arlington National Cemetery here.



Memorial Day Service at Gilbert Historical Museum

Memorial Day Service at Gilbert Historical Museum
May 28, 2019
Gilbert, Arizona

The service begins with a flag ceremony, the laying of wreaths and recognition of veterans in attendance, as well as musical entertainment and a variety of speakers. All Gilbert residents are encouraged to attend to honor those who have died in service and those who continue to serve today.

More about Memorial Day Service at Gilbert Historical Museum here.



The 91st Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade

The 92nd Annual Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade
May 27, 2019
Great Neck, New York

Held annually since 1927, where hundreds of men and women and boys and girls including veterans, active duty and reserve military personnel, police officers, firefighters and volunteers come together to remember and honor the men and women of the Armed Forces who gave their lives to protect the rights and freedom that we enjoy today.

More about the 92nd Annual Little Neck-Douglaston Memorial Day Parade here.



Memorial Day Celebration at Victory Arch

Memorial Day Celebration at Victory Arch
May 27, 2019
Newport News, Virginia

Originally built in 1919, returning War War l troops disembarked from ships and marched through the Victory Arch in Victory parades. Today, this annual event honors our fallen heroes. After the ceremony, the public is invited to learn about America's rich military heritage at the Virginia War Museum.

More about the Memorial Day Celebration at Victory Arch here.



Evergreen Washelli's 92nd Annual Memorial Day Celebration

Evergreen Washelli’s 93rd Annual Memorial Day Celebration
May 27, 2019
Seattle, Washington

An annual Memorial Day Commemorative Service, join in honoring America’s heroes and heroines, and salute the flags on their “Avenue of Colors”. Activities include a flag placement ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Cemetery, a concert and a Service of Remembrance in the afternoon.



Memorial Day Parade, Dexter, Michigan

Memorial Day Parade
May 27, 2019
Dexter, Michigan

A grand community event to celebrate and remember the brave men and women of our U.S. military. The parade starts at 10 am followed by the Memorial Day Ceremony upon conclusion of the parade.

More about the Memorial Day Parade here.



Freehold Memorial Day Parade

145th Annual Freehold Memorial Day Parade
May 27, 2019
Freehold, New Jersey

The largest and longest consecutively running Memorial Day Parade in New Jersey which strives to make every parade different, bigger and better than the year before. The parade starts at 10 in the morning.

More about the Freehold Memorial Day Parade here.




If you have a favorite that belongs on this list, please let us know in the comments below. And if you're looking for a special gift for a history lover, check out our store, which is what funds the operation and expansion of The History List.  You'll find shirts and stickers with our original design, special commemorative shirts, and signed books by noted historians.




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