15 Ways To Observe Memorial Day In National Parks
In May, we take time to pause and remember the men and women who, as President Lincoln put it, “gave the last full measure of devotion” in service of this great country. During Memorial Day weekend, we invite you to join us in our national parks as we take a moment to celebrate the brave memories of our fallen military personnel.
The National Park Service preserves the sites and shares the stories of important chapters in our nation’s history. These special places – including forts, battlefields, military parks, monuments, and memorials – stand so that we may reflect upon the circumstances that led our countrymen to answer the call of duty in pursuit of our freedom.
Dating back to the opening days of the French & Indian War at Fort Necessity National Battlefield (Pennsylvania); to the valor of the first African American pilots who fought in WWII, memorialized at Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site (Alabama); to the bravery of ordinary passengers and crew members who joined together for an extraordinary act of selflessness, remembered at Flight 93 National Memorial (Pennsylvania) – our national parks protect our past, our heritage, and the diversity of narratives that have brought us to this day.
In observance of Memorial Day, spend some time learning about, or revisiting, the incredible stories held in perpetuity within our national parks. You can celebrate the holiday weekend by…
1. Helping to raise the Avenue of Flags in the national cemetery at Andersonville National Historic Site (Georgia)
2. Joining ranger tours and cemetery programs at Antietam National Battlefield (Maryland)
3. Touring the bunkers on Point Loma with WWII re-enactors at Cabrillo National Monument (California)
4. Visiting an active U.S. Coast Guard Station and learning about the long and heroic history of the US Coast Guard at Cape Hatteras National Seashore (North Carolina)
5. Exploring the events and impacts of the Civil War through talks, tours, and demonstrations at Fort Scott National Historic Site (Kansas)
6. Listening to the stories of living historians as they recount the lives of those who served during the French and Indian War at Fort Stanwix National Monument (New York)
7. Taking a historical walking tour during the national cemetery illumination at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park (Virginia)
8. Commemorating the 148th Annual Gettysburg Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony at Gettysburg National Military Park (Pennsylvania)
9. Meeting the patriots of the American Revolution in a living history event at Independence National Historical Park (Pennsylvania)
10. Placing flags at each of the headstones marking the final resting places of veterans – from the Civil War to the Vietnam War – within Chalmette National Cemetery at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve (Louisiana)
11. Learning about our past and present from various living history interpreters representing every war – from the French and Indian War to today’s military – at Kings Mountain National Military Park (South Carolina)
12. Participating in special programs during the memorial flag display at Monocacy National Battlefield (Maryland)
13. Enjoying an evening ranger-led tour at National Mall & Memorial Parks (Washington, DC)
14. Honoring the sacrifice of the surfmen who served to protect America’s coast during a ceremony and special events at Point Reyes National Seashore (California)
15. Partaking in a wreath-laying ceremony at the national cemetery rostrum at Stones River National Battlefield (Tennessee)
As you venture out into national parks this Memorial Day weekend, be sure to share your reflections, photos, and experiences with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr by using #FindYourPark and tagging us (@GoParks).
Photo Credits: National Park Service
Last updated May 18, 2015.