Honor Our Veterans Memorial Day

Cheryl MASTER May Graphics (11).png

I was so fortunate to be the child of a strong man who served his country for 25 years and more. Whenever the subject comes up, I always say I am a proud military brat and the army took good care of me and my siblings. My father was a man of valor. A man that always did right by people. He was also a man of serious discipline that fortunately spilled over to reinforce that respect, honesty and punctuality are mandatory. I am grateful that I was raised by him and that all the morals and the values of military life are part of who I am today.

So this Memorial Day and all others past and in the future, I recognize and acknowledge him and every veteran who served our country unselfishly. Being in Metro DC where I was born and where he served, provides so many opportunities for remembrance. Here are just a few to consider as you plan your 3 day weekend:

Memorial Day Parade

The National Memorial Day Parade ushers marching bands, youth groups, floats, performers and, of course, veterans, down Constitution Avenue. This televised parade is the largest of its kind in the U.S. and honors those who have served or presently serve in the U.S. military. This year's parade is scheduled for Monday, May 27 at 2 p.m. Arrive early for the best viewing options.:

Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally

The Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally will bring together motorcycle riders from all over the U.S. one final time to honor POWs and MIAs who served their country during the Vietnam War. This “ride for freedom” draws more than 900,000 riders, featuring a route that starts at the Pentagon and winds through West Potomac Park. The last Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally goes down on Sunday, May 26.

National Memorial Day Concert

PBS’s National Memorial Day Concert salutes the sacrifice made by the men and women in uniform as well as their families. The free annual concert is held on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol on Sunday, May 26 at 8 p.m. Actors Gary Sinise and Joe Mantegna will host the proceedings, which will feature numerous other celebrity performers. 

Pay Respects at National Mall Memorials

The National Mall features plenty of ways to honor American servicemen and women. Visit the magnificent National World War II Memorial and its famous effervescent fountain. Stop to pay your respects at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Vietnam Women’s Memorial; take a piece of paper from one of the volunteers and etch a name from the famous wall included in the former. Admire the steely faces of the 19 servicemen depicted in the Field of Service at the Korean War Veterans Memorial. And a visit to the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial is a solemn and powerful reminder of the very human cost of war. 

Place A Flag or Rose In at the Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery is the country’s largest military cemetery, with thousands of veterans and members of their immediate family resting there. On Memorial Day (May 27), servicemen and women place American flags at more than 250,000 graves, with the Memorial Day Roses Foundation providing free roses to visitors who come in tribute.

If there are other activities that we should know about, please share them in the DC Living Facebook Group. Looking forward to a time of reflection and escorting in the summer heat.

Cheryl Shaw