Though many people celebrate Memorial Day by hosting barbecues or visiting the beach, the holiday is primarily a day of remembrance to honor the men and women who have died while serving in the U.S. military.
Like last year, Memorial Day won’t look exactly the same as it did before the pandemic. However, as Americans continue to get vaccinated, some holiday weekend events are allowing members of the public to attend in person — though many events are still being held virtually.
To see how you can participate this weekend, here are some Memorial Day events that are happening across the country and online.
National Memorial Day Concert
Traditionally, the National Memorial Day Concert is a live performance on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. However, because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the PBS special has been pre-taped and will air on PBS on Sunday, May 30 at 8:00 p.m. ET. The 90-minute concert hosted by Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise will also be available to stream online for up to two weeks after the broadcast.
National Veterans Memorial and Museum Events
The National Veterans Memorial and Museum will be holding several ceremonies and events over the holiday weekend. Some of those events include a virtual run and walk with distances ranging from one mile to a 10K, a candlelight vigil at 8 p.m. ET on Friday, May 28, and Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony on the museum’s rooftop at 10 a.m. ET on Monday.
Both the vigil and the Memorial Day ceremony will be streamed online and held in person.
National Memorial Day Observance at Arlington National Cemetery
Every year, the U.S. Army Military District of Washington holds a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. According to the MDW website, the ceremony will be happening on Monday, but additional details on this year’s event have still not been determined.
National Parks Service Events
Various National Parks across the country are holding events over Memorial Day weekend to honor local heroes, including a 12-mile march at North Carolina’s Guilford Courthouse at the state’s National Military Park.
For more details on events near you, check the National Parks Service website.
Friends of the World War II Memorial Event
The Friends of the World War II Memorial will be holding a 30-minute ceremony on Monday morning, starting at 9:00 a.m. ET.
According to the website, World War II veterans will lay wreaths at the World War II Memorial “in remembrance of their fallen brothers and sisters.”
Members of the public can attend the ceremony in person, but they have to register. According to the website, social distancing and face coverings will be required.
The event will also be streamed live on Facebook.
The National World War I Museum and Memorial Events
The National World War I Museum and Memorial will be hosting several displays and other events during the holiday weekend, according to the website.
Some of the events happening on Memorial Day itself include a morning ceremony at 10 a.m. ET, a bell tolling ceremony at 12 p.m., a flag ceremony at 12:15 p.m. and a 2 p.m. ceremony to dedicate the memorial’s Walk of Honor.
All the Memorial Day events at the National World War I Museum and Memorial are free to the public.