Memorial Day is the best day of the year for many reasons. First and formost, it is a patriotic time when Americans collectively remember those who have died serving in the United State’s military. But that’s not all. Over the years, Memorial Day has adopted an additional meaning for the young and in-school populations of Americans: it’s summer time. Memorial Day weekend has long been the unofficial first weekend of summer; so you know what that means… it’s time for concerts, celebrations, and red white and blue painted everything.
This Memorial Day weekend is sure to be bustling with activity, and you don’t want to be caught outside “the know” this holiday weekend. So here is your guide to the greatest Memorial Day celebrations happening in the United States:
National Memorial Day Concert
Sunday the 27th, at 8 pm, over 300,000 patriotic Americans will converge on the U.S. Capitol’s West Lawn to attend this free 2013 Memorial Day Concert. Many high profile entertainers and political figures will be in attendance, including Ed Harris, Colin L. Powell, and The Joint Chiefs of Staff. The event is hosted by actors Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna, as they’ve done for seven consecutive years. Also, consistent with it being a “Concert”, there will be performance from notable figures in the entertainment industry including, Chris Mann, the star of “The Voice” and American Idol winner Candice Glover. Famous tenor Alfie Boe will be demonstrating his pipes, as well Welsh mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins. If that’s not enough to get you there, the National Symphony Orchestra will be performing under the baton of maestro Jack Everly. There is no excuse for missing this iconic concert, as the whole thing will be broadcast on PBS. If you can make it out, do yourself the favor. But if you don’t live near our nation’s capitol, tune into PBS for this spectacular display of American patriotism. Check out the specifics on the Memorial Day Concert here.
National Memorial Day Parade
The Nation Memorial Day Parade is an event presented by the American Veterans Center to remember those that have fought and died for our county. The National Memorial Day Parade is an opportunity for Americans to come together and remember fallen soldiers ”From the American Revolution to Operation Iraqi Freedom”. This parade is done in proper “go big or go home” American fashion. On only it’s sophomore year, The National Memorial Day Parade was over 250,000 people’s choice for Memorial Day celebration. There will hundreds of things to see, including marching bands, color guards, floats, and military unites. Check here for the specifics.
Shinnyo-en Lantern Floating Hawaii Ceremony Also on the 27th, the Lantern Floating Ceremony brings thousands to Ala Moana Beach on O’ahu’s South Shore. This reflective time is a stark contrast to the festivals, concerts, and rallies happening elsewhere in the states. Instead, the Lantern Floating Ceremony is a tranquil time of reflection, meditation, and remembrance of those that have passed before us. This goal of the Floating Ceremony is community development, where friends and family can come together and remember the sacrifices others have made, as well as participate in the casting of hundreds of lantern out to sea- a sight to behold, I’m sure. Find out more about the Shinnyo-en Lantern Floating Hawaii Ceremony.
Rolling Thunder has been a perfect display of patriotism since 1988. This three day event brings thousands of bikers from all over the country together for one reason: remembrance of America’s fallen soldiers. Riders rally in the north and south parking lots of the Pentagon before they make their way through the streets of Washington. Rolling Thunder includes historical sites such as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, where a wreath laying ceremony will take place. The parade of bikes pass by the Lincoln Memorial, the Smithsonian, and the John Ericsson National Memorial on their “Ride for Freedom” . The streets of Washington are sure to be rumbling from the thousands of bikers and their steal horses this Memorial Day, this is definitely something you don’t want to miss. Check out Rolling Thunder’s website for more information.
Written by Alec Ross