What to Do Today: Your Memorial Day Guide

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Memorial Day brings many good things: the unofficial beginning of summer, barbecues, days off work and a chance to honor those who sacrificed everything for their country. Our guide will keep you from missing a single fun or meaningful event.

Forecast: A few clouds and temperatures in the high 60s to low 80s. The western suburbs of D.C. have a chance for a few sprinkles in late morning. There's also a chance for rain in the afternoon, and showers east of I-95 in the evening.

National Memorial Day Parade

Of course D.C. has one of the biggest Memorial Day parades in the nation. This parade happens on the National Mall, honoring veterans from the Revolutionary War onward. The parade begins at 2 p.m. along Constitution Ave NW and runs between 7th and and 17th streets NW.

Note that there are numerous road closures in effect around the Mall for the parade:

  • Constitution Avenue NW from 23rd to 6th streets NW
  • 15th Street NW from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to Constitution Avenue NW
  • 14th Street NW from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • 10th Street NW from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to Constitution Avenue NW
  • 9th Street NW from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to Constitution Avenue NW
  • 7th Street NW from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to Independence Avenue SW
  • 6th Street NW from Pennsylvania Avenue NW to Constitution

National Memorial Day Concert

Lucky people who live in D.C. or are visiting for Memorial Day can actually go to the concert -- although the show also looks good broadcast live on PBS. The Beach Boys are headlining this year, along with the U.S. Navy Band and other musical military acts. The free event takes place on the Capitol's West Lawn -- try to ensure your spot by showing up when gates open at 5 p.m. The concert starts at 8 p.m.

Falls Church Memorial Day Festival and Parade

Falls Church celebrates with a 3K fun run starting at 9 a.m., with live music from 40 Thieves at 9:15 a.m. and kids' amusements all day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., a 165-year-old farmhouse is open for tours. In honor of Memorial Day, a veterans ceremony is set for 11 a.m, with a performance by the Falls Church Concert Band at 12:15 p.m. and a parade kicking off at 2 p.m.

Rockville Memorial Day Ceremony and Parade

Rockville celebrates Memorial Day with the Rockville Band and Chorus at 9 a.m., a ceremony at 9:30 a.m. and a parade at 10:30 a.m.

National Museum of the Marine Corps 

A Huey medevac helicopter shot down during the Vietnam War has been transformed into modern art on display at this museum in Triangle, Virginia.

"Washed Ashore" at the National Zoo

With "Washed Ashore," the zoo has debuted stunning animal sculptures -- all made from trash, to inform and remind people about the more than 300 billion pounds of trash that winds up in our oceans.

PostSecret at the National Postal Museum

For the past 12 years, Germantown resident Frank Warren has received thousands of postcards bearing the anonymous senders' deepest secrets, and shares them on his website, PostSecret. More than 500 of the postcards -- works of art in themselves -- are on display at the Postal Museum through Aug. 3.

Visit Arlington National Cemetery

A quarter-million American flags will be placed on the graves at Arlington National Cemetery in honor of fallen soldiers -- which promises to be a profound sight. On Memorial Day, the Memorial Day Roses Foundation will also give visitors roses that they can leave on the graves.

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