Memorial Day 2009: Commemorative events at historic sites

Through out our country's history, brave men and women served on muddy battlefields or along dusty roadsides, in silent offices, battle weary ships or noisy planes.

From Revolutionary times to current events in Afghanistan and Iraq, this nation owes much to the brave men and women who've served this country well.

Memorial Day weekend commemorative events are opportunities to remember.

Being at a historic site during Memorial Day weekend can amplify memories and enhance the significance of this holiday.

For this reason, during Memorial Day weekend, hundreds of thousands of people visit museums and monuments in the Washington, D.C. area.

Today and tomorrow, the following historic sites in the Washington, D.C. area will have one or more commemorative events that are open to the public and free:

  • National Memorial Day Concert, West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol - Sun., May 24, 8:00 - 9:30 p.m. National Symphony Orchestra, actors, dignitaries and musical artists. Co-hosted by Gary Sinise (CSI:New York) and Tony Award-winner Joe Mantegna (Criminal Minds) Gates open at 5:00 pm. Free.
  • 2009 Summer Blast Off!, Wolf trap National Park of the Performing Arts, Filene Center - Sun., May 24, 8:00 p.m. "The President's Own," United States Marine Band with fireworks. Gates open at 6:30. Arrive early, park closes when capacity is reached. Firewoks begin at approximately 9:30 p.m. Free.
  • Arlington Cemetery - Mon., May 25, 2009, 11:00 a.m. Wreathlaying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns, followed by an observance program in the Memorial Amphitheater. Hosted by Maj. Gen. Richard J. Rowe, Jr., commanding general of Joint Force Headquaters - National Capital Region and the U.S. Army Military District of Washington. Free.
  • National Memorial Day Parade - Mon., May 25, 2:00 p.m. Celebrities, dignities and bands from 50 states will parade down Constitution Ave, from 7th Street to 17th Street, past the White House. Free.
  • Wreath laying and "World War II Radio Hour" events, U.S. Navy Memorial, 701 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
    • Mon., May 25, 10:00 a.m. - Fleet Reserve Association's wreathlaying with guest speaker Ernest Borgnine. Free.
    • Mon., May 25, 11:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. - Live Music "World War II Radio Hour" (music of the Andrew Sisters). Free.
    • Mon., May 25, 1:00 p.m. - Naval District Washington's wreathlaying. Free.
  • Air Force Memorial - Mon, May 25, 2009, 9:00 a.m. Keynote speaker is Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Rodney McKinley. Open to the public. Parking is plentiful. Free.
  • Viet Nam Veteran's Memorial, Constitution Ave. and 21st St. NW, Washington, D.C. - Mon., May 25, 2009, 1:00 p.m. Keynote speaker is Peter M. Holt, CEO of Holt Companies and the San Antonio Spurs. Featured speakers are Air Vice Marshal Kym Osley of the Embassy of Australia and Dr. Heidi Kraft, deputy coordinator for the U.S. Navy Combat Stress Control program. Free.
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