Memorial Day means a lot of things to a lot of different people. To some it means BBQs, sales at the mall, and boating. To others it is all about remembering those who have paved the way for us as Americans and as members of a family.
If you tend to fall into the second group, check out Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day. The year we went reigns as one of my favorite presidential memories here in the city (right behind going to the largest inauguration ever).
Have you been? Have you heard of it?
If not, you are not alone. When we went, I was surprised at how many people weren’t there. And how close to the president we actually were, sitting in the Memorial Amphitheater near the Tomb of the Unknowns.
On Memorial Day, the president (or vice president) traditionally lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, and then gives a short speech to commemorate those who have served our country. If you’re unable to make it to Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, a similar event is held on Veterans Day in November. You can also check out the flags marking the tombstones at the cemetery for several days before Memorial Day, courtesy of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment.
Although Memorial Day is traditionally hot in DC, this is over by the afternoon– leaving time to wander the cemetery and hit up a BBQ or canoeing on the Potomac.
Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Day Observance
- May 27, 2013 at 11 a.m.; Everyone should plan to be seated by 9:30 a.m. at either the Memorial Amphitheater or the Tomb of the Unknowns.
- Both the wreath-laying ceremony and the observance program are free and open to the general public. No tickets are required. Space is limited to standing room only for the wreath-laying ceremony and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis in the amphitheater.
- Event goers can expect to go through a security checkpoint. Prohibited items include: large bags or backpacks, firearms and weapons of any type, laser pointers, aerosol containers, soda cans, umbrellas, coolers, picnic baskets, tripods, lighters, personal protection sprays, and insulated beverage containers.
- Free, but limited parking is available at Arlington National Cemetery. The cemetery has a stop on Metro’s Blue line.
- Expect warm weather, and prepare for sun.
- More information available here.
More Spring and Summer Fun
- Go for a walk, run or bike ride on the Mt. Vernon Trail along the Potomac
- Cool off in the shade at Theodore Roosevelt Island
- Take a day trip (or weekend getaway) to Hersheypark in PA
- Take a local swim class with your toddler before the pools open!
- Check out one of DC’s new Smithsonian Exhibits