May - Memorial Day Parade
The National Memorial Day Parade was created to call attention to the true meaning of the holiday – honoring fallen heroes. Each year, throughout its television broadcast, the parade features personal stories of men and women who lost their lives in service to America – a reminder of the price of freedom.
Memorial Day (originally known as Decoration Day) is much more than a three-day weekend that marks the beginning of summer. To many people, especially the nation’s thousands of combat veterans, this day, which has a history stretching back all the way to the Civil War, is an important reminder of those who died in the service of their country.
The National Memorial Day Parade takes place annually on Memorial Day in Washington, DC, and exists to salute military & fallen heroes from the American Revolution through Afghanistan & Iraq. In 2004, after a 60-year absence, a parade returned to Washington, DC 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.
This is the largest parade of it's kind in the U.S. It honours the memory of servicemen and servicewoman who died to protect American freedoms and values. The parade is attended by over 250,000 spectators. Participants include active military units, youth groups, floats, and bands, as well as many veterans.
The National Memorial Day Parade, held annually along Constitution Avenue in Washington, DC – shares the story of American honor and sacrifice from across the generations. The parade is the nation’s largest Memorial Day event, drawing hundreds of thousands of spectators to the National Mall to pay tribute to those who have served, are serving, and most importantly those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while in service to the country.
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 fallen heroes.
The parade is broadcast live nationwide on local TV stations across the country and to troops serving around the world on American Forces Network, as well as locally in Washington, DC. Marching Bands and other units for the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C. are selected based upon video tapes, recommendations, director interviews, past accomplishments, uniforms and past adjudication results in similar parades or festivals. Representation from all regions and states of the United States is a major factor in the selection process. While several outstanding units may originate within a small geographical area, conceivably only one may be selected in favor of representation from the broadest spectrum of geography and diversity possible.
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