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10 ways to honor the sacrifices of U.S. soldiers this Memorial Day weekend at national parks

By Rocío Lower

National Park Foundation

On the last Monday of May, our nation will come together to observe Memorial Day and honor the men and women who gave their lives in service of our country. Throughout the National Park System, many sites will hold events in memoriam of the greatest sacrifice made by these brave American veterans, while other sites stand as permanent tributes to fallen soldiers year-round.

This year, five national parks will continue their Civil War 150th celebrations by observing Memorial Day with special events. National parks such as Andersonville National Historic Site (Georgia), Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park (Virginia), and Monocacy National Battlefield (Maryland) will host programs paying tribute to the American veterans who were lost on the battlefield.

From the first days of the American Revolutionary War to the lives lost on September 11, 2001, the National Park Service protects the memory of those who sacrificed themselves to protect our nation. Invite your friends and family to join us in reflecting on the last full measure of devotion made by our fellow Americans.You can celebrate and honor the memory of U.S. military members in our national parks by…

  1. Learning what it was like to be a soldier in the American Revolutionary War at Independence National Historical Park (Pennsylvania) with activities and presentations throughout the day. | Event
  2. Remembering the lives lost in the first battle of the U.S.-Mexican War at Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park (Texas), one of our American Latino Heritage Fund sites.
  3. Paying tribute to America’s fallen troops — from the War of 1812 to today — at Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve’s Chalmette National Cemetery (Louisiana). | Event
  4. Reflecting on the sacrifices of this nation’s military personnel at Shiloh National Military Park (Tennessee) by listening to living historians as they interpret wars from colonial times to today. | Event
  5. Visiting the numerous sites at National Mall & Memorial Parks (Washington, D.C.) and taking time to remember the contributions and service of American veterans both at home and abroad.
  6. Recognizing the valiant dedication of the first African American military pilots in World War II at Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site (Alabama), one of our African American Experience Fund sites. | Event
  7. Joining Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine (Maryland) as they pay tribute to the graves of fallen War of 1812, Civil War, World War I and II, and Korean War veterans. | Event
  8. Honoring of the lives of ordinary passengers and crew members, who joined together for an extraordinary act of selflessness at Flight 93 National Memorial (Pennsylvania).
  9. Exploring the Lincoln Memorial (online) through an interactive website that showcases the memorial and park ranger reflections on its history.
  10. Watching PBS’s live National Memorial Day Concert on Sunday, May 25, from 8:00 to 9:30 p.m. ET, and enjoying the musical tributes by groups such as the U.S. Army Chorus, U.S. Navy Band Sea Chanters, and the U.S. Air Force Singing Sergeants.

As you prepare to welcome the unofficial beginning of the summer season, we hope you will take a moment this Memorial Day to celebrate and honor those who have made the greatest sacrifice. For more ideas on places to go and things to do this Memorial Day weekend, click here.

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