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4 Ways to Observe Memorial Day in and around Arlington, Virginia

Here are four powerful ways for you to spend Memorial Day this year in the Arlington and DC area. This year’s Memorial Day will be very different from those in the past for most Americans. But the tradition of remembering and honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country remains steadfast.

While there are many ways you could choose to spend your holiday weekend in the Arlington and DC area, here are our top four picks. 

1. Visit Arlington National Cemetery

Although Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) recently reopened to the public, plans for a 2021 Memorial Day ceremony have not yet been announced. Those interested in visiting ANC in person are encouraged to read up on the current COVID protocols as several places of interest remain closed to ensure health protection conditions.

2. Attend the National Memorial Day Parade

The annual National Memorial Day Parade, usually held just across the Potomac River from Arlington in Washington, D.C., shares the story of American honor and sacrifice from across the generations. It’s the nation’s largest Memorial Day event, and in a normal year brings together thousands of people to pay tribute to those who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice while in military service to the United States, as well as those who are serving and have served. Due to continued protocols, the 2021 National Memorial Day Parade will be filmed for television only, and will not be open to the public. Please enjoy the show, and we look forward to the public’s return to Constitution Avenue on Memorial Day, 2022!

3. Attend the Annual Women's Memorial Day Program

Located at the entrance of Arlington National Cemetery, the Military Women’s Memorial is the only major national memorial honoring all women who have defended America throughout history. The organization is proud to recognize their devoted patriotism and bravery as an integral part of the United States’ national heritage. The Military Women's Memorial traditionally hosts an annual Memorial Day Ceremony. Although details have not yet been announced for the 2021 ceremony, check their website and Facebook page for updates.

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4. Rolling to Remember Ride Challenge

For 33 years, Arlington and Washington, D.C., have been home to a motorcycle demonstration on Memorial Day weekend to raise awareness of the critical issues facing America’s veterans and demand action for the 82,000 service members missing in action. On May 30, 2021, the tradition will continue. Riders are encouraged to review the itinerary as some of the traditional in-person events will not be taking place.

Learn more about Memorial Day events in Arlington here.

Author: Emily Cassell