The National Memorial Day Parade takes place annually on Memorial Day in Washington, D.C., and exists to salute our military & fallen heroes from the American Revolution through Afghanistan & Iraq
In this era of uncertainty and war, we realize more vividly how much our very freedoms rest on the courageous sacrifices of so many men and women throughout the course of our country’s history.
In 2004, after a 60-year absence, a parade returned to Washington, D.C. on Memorial Day to coincide with the dedication of the National World War II Memorial. This outpouring of appreciation to the veterans of World War II spilled over to veterans of the more recent conflicts. Anthony A. Williams, former Mayor of Washington, D.C., was so moved by this parade that he was instrumental in reinstating it as an annual event in conjunction with the American Veterans Center and Music Celebrations International.
Now, every year on Memorial Day, this three-hour parade passes alongside the National Mall on Constitution Avenue between 7th and 17th Streets in a magnificent salute to America’s Veterans and in honor of those who died in defense of our country. The parade consists of select marching bands and veteran units from each of the 50 states honoring World War I, War World II, The Korean and Vietnam Conflicts, Desert Storm, and the liberation of Grenada, Panama, Iraq and Afghanistan. Large patriotic floats and helium-filled balloons are also part of the procession. More than 10,000 participants take part in the parade each year.
The National Memorial Day Parade is a moving timeline of American military history, honoring those who have served and sacrificed from the American Revolution to the present day. It draws on the tradition of Memorial Day parades, going back to the beginning of the holiday just after the Civil War, to create a family friendly event aimed at calling attention to the true meaning of Memorial Day – honoring our fallen heroes.
Not merely an event for Washington, the National Memorial Day Parade is an event for the entire country—a major parade which seeks to draw the attention of Americans to the real meaning for the holiday: honoring those who have served, and died, to preserve our liberties.
Memorial Day Links
For parade participants, the highlights include:
- Having the opportunity to honor and pay tribute to all American veterans for their dedication and service to our country
- Enjoying television coverage in the United States and across the globe
- Witnessing veteran participation from recent national and global conflicts, including World War II, The Korean and Vietnam conflicts, the Gulf War, and the liberation of Afghanistan and Iraq
- Representing one’s state alongside marching bands and veteran units from each of the 50 states
- Being one of more than 10,000 participants take part in the parade each year