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Top 10 Memorial Day Events in the United States

Festivals and Holidays

Memorial Day means different things to different people. For some, it's a solemn occasion to commemorate the nation's fallen heroes. For others, it's nothing more than a long weekend and the beginning of summer.

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Members of the U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary march in the Memorial Day Parade in Chicago, Illinois. Photo Credit: Defense Imagery.

American flags are flown at half mast until noon and then raised to full mast for the rest of the day. They are hung at front doors and placed at the grave sites of fallen heroes.

There are parades in the afternoon and fireworks displays after dark.

There are long lines at airports and massive traffic jams on highways. Amusement parks are full, beaches are crowded, and national parks are full of happy campers.

What to Do on Memorial Day

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U.S. Coast Guard Seaman Samantha salutes the burial site of a Coast Guardsman at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. Photo Credit: PO2 Patrick Kelley.

Needless to say, there are countless events commemorating Memorial Day across the United States. Here is a short list of 10 of the most important.

1. Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia.

  • More than 228,000 flags have been placed on grave sites in the cemetery to honour America's fallen heroes. 

2. National Memorial Day Concert - Washington, DC.

  • A concert will be held on the West Lawn of the Capitol Building on Sunday 28 May 2017 beginning at 8 pm EDT. Gates will open at 5 pm. The concert will be broadcast live on PBS from 8 to 9.30 pm and re-broadcast from 9.30 to 11.00 pm.

3. National Memorial Day Parade - Washington, DC.

  • The nation's largest Memorial Day event will be held on Monday 29 May beginning at 2.00 pm EDT.

4. 30th Annual Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally - Washington, DC.

  • Motorcycle enthusiasts will roar into the nation's capital on Sunday 28 May 2017 for the 30th annual Rolling Thunder Ride for Freedom Demonstration

5. 150th Annual Gettysburg Memorial Day Parade - Gettysburg, Virginia.

  • One of the nation's oldest continuing ceremonies will be held on Monday 29 May 2017 i  Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, beginning at 2.00 pm EDT

6. 50th Memorial Day Fly-in - Tuskegee, Alabama.

  • Pilots from around the country Flew in to commemorate the first African American pilots serving in the U.S. military on 19 and 20 May 2017.

7. Chicago Memorial Day Parade - Chicago, Illinois.

  • The nation's largest Memorial Day parade will be held on Saturday 27 beginning at 12 noon CDT.

8. Fleet Week - New York, New York.

  • A parade of ships sailed into New York Harbor on Tuesday 23 May 2017. They will remain moored at Pier 92 in Manhattan and Sullivans Pier in Staten Island until Tuesday 30 May.

9. Memorial Day Ceremony - San Francisco, California.

  • A parade through the Presidio to the National Cemetery will be held on Monday 29 May beginning at 10.30 am PDT.

10. Annual Honolulu Mayor's Memorial Day Ceremony - Honolulu, Hawaii.

  • A flower lei will be placed at each grave site at Punchbowl National Cemetery on Monday 29 May 2017.

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