Memorial Day weekend is just round the corner, and if you still haven’t planned a getaway with the family, you might want to visit a place that celebrates the day in the traditional sense.
Slated for the last Monday of May, Memorial Day is a federal holiday to honor those who died serving the US military. Most cities host a bunch of activities to mark the event, but the most popular observance is the Memorial Day Parade.
So pack your bags, and drive down to one of these sites to salute American heroes:
1. Washington, DC: If you’re somewhere around the capital, then you shouldn’t miss the most patriotic parade in the country. Hosted by the American Veterans Center, it honors everyone who has served in the wars—right from the Revolutionary ones, to the recent Iraq war. With a merry mix of marching bands, floats, choruses and hundreds of veterans, this parade attracts over 250,000 spectators each year.
For details, visit: www.americanveteranscenter.org
2. Brooklyn, New York: This year marks the 148th Brooklyn Memorial Day parade that welcomes everyone, even non-soldiers to march in it. It coincides with Fleet Week, the annual celebration for the sailors. So you can see a bunch of ships lined up at the Hudson, and thousands of men and women in their navy uniforms, scurrying around the streets. The vibe is full of energy and fun.
For details, visit: www.brooklynmemorialdayparade.com
3. Chicago, Illinois: One of the largest Parades in the nation, this one has been around since 1870. It begins with the wreath-laying ceremony at the Eternal Flame on Daley Plaza, a tradition observed to recognize the soldiers lost in war. All the gold star family members wear a gold star pin, a lapel button that recognizes their army families. This large parade attracts many school musical corps, floats, and veteran groups.
For details, visit: www.cityofchicago.org
4. Denver, Colorado: This year, the Memorial Day Parade and Tribute Ceremony will take place around Civic Center Park, and within downtown Denver streets. But apart from the parade, Denver also hosts many festivities during the Memorial weekend. These include ArtStir Denver—an art festival featuring a variety of works in painting, photography, illustration, textiles, furnishings, mixed media, and locally designed and handcrafted goods, and the award-winning Horseshoe Craft and Flea Market—Denver’s premiere indie crafts market featuring vintage and handmade products.
For details, visit: www.denver.org
5. San Francisco, California: Thousands of spectators flock to the Presidio—a park, and former military base—to view the Memorial Day Parade that features marching bands, floats, active military personnel and war veterans. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out Fort Point, a national historic site that was once used by the US army. SF will also host Carnival San Francisco, a two-day festival that celebrates Latin American and Caribbean arts.
For details, visit: www.sftourismtips.com
6. Little Neck-Douglaston, New York: Another major parade, this one marches westward along Northern Boulevard in Queens, from Great Neck to Douglaston. It will involve local members of the military, veterans, marching bands, Brownie troops and Boy Scouts.
For details, visit: lndmemorialdayparade.com
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