Top Memorial Day Destinations: Places to Reflect & Remember

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Every year, Memorial Day serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made by the brave men and women who have fallen while defending our freedom. This solemn day is a time for reflection and remembrance, as well as an opportunity to express gratitude for the courage and commitment of these heroes. In this blog post, we will explore some of the top Memorial Day destinations where you can pay your respects and honor the memory of those who have served.

Buying and Displaying an American Flag

One of the most iconic symbols of patriotism, the American flag is often prominently displayed during Memorial Day. Purchasing an American flag from a reputable U.S. flag store and proudly showcasing it on this day is a fitting tribute to those who have given their lives in service to our country. Before heading to any of the destinations mentioned below, consider stopping by an American flag store to pick up a flag that you can take with you or display at home.

Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia

Situated in Virginia, Arlington National Cemetery is a final resting place for more than 400,000 military personnel and their families. Established during the Civil War, this hallowed ground has since become a symbol of honor, respect, and reverence for those who have served and sacrificed.

An unforgettable experience at Arlington is the Changing of the Guard, a solemn ceremony that takes place at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This meticulously choreographed ritual honors unidentified soldiers from World Wars I and II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is an imposing monument that serves as a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made by countless unidentified soldiers. Visiting this tomb on Memorial Day is a profound way to pay tribute to these brave men and women.

National World War II Museum, New Orleans, Louisiana

Located in New Orleans, Louisiana, the National World War II Museum is a must-see destination for anyone interested in the history of the Second World War. This comprehensive museum offers a wealth of exhibits, artifacts, and immersive experiences that help visitors understand the conflict’s global impact.

Some of the highlights of the museum include the Road to Tokyo and Road to Berlin exhibits, which showcase the stories of individual soldiers and provide a gripping account of the various campaigns during the war. The National World War II Museum typically hosts special events and ceremonies on Memorial Day, making it a particularly fitting time to visit.

Gettysburg National Military Park, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

The Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania is the site of one of the most significant battles in American history. The park preserves the battlefield and serves as a tribute to the more than 50,000 soldiers who were casualties of the three-day battle in 1863.

Visitors can explore the battlefield through guided tours and learn about the battle’s strategy, key moments, and lasting impact. Walking the hallowed grounds allows for a deeper connection to the sacrifices made by these soldiers. The Soldiers’ National Cemetery is another crucial destination at Gettysburg, as it is the final resting place for many of the fallen. The Lincoln Address Memorial, located within the cemetery, commemorates President Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address.

Pearl Harbor National Memorial, Honolulu, Hawaii

The historic Pearl Harbor National Memorial in Honolulu, Hawaii, honors the lives lost during the surprise Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base in 1941. This event led to the United States’ entry into World War II, making it an essential part of American history.

The USS Arizona Memorial, a floating memorial built above the sunken battleship, commemorates the 1,177 crew members who perished during the attack. Visitors can access the memorial via a short boat ride and pay their respects to those who lost their lives. Additional memorials at Pearl Harbor include the USS Missouri, where the Japanese surrender took place, and the USS Oklahoma Memorial, which honors the 429 sailors and marines who died aboard the ship during the attack.

Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, D.C.

Located in Washington, D.C., the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a stirring tribute to the 58,000 American service members who lost their lives or remain missing in action from the Vietnam War. Its powerful design and somber atmosphere create an emotional space for reflection.

The memorial’s main feature is “The Wall,” a polished black granite monument engraved with the names of the fallen. Nearby, “The Three Servicemen” statue represents the diverse backgrounds of those who served in the conflict. The Vietnam Women’s Memorial also recognizes the contributions of American women who served during the war, primarily as nurses. The “In Memory” plaque honors Vietnam veterans who passed away from war-related causes after returning home.

Flight 93 National Memorial, Shanksville, Pennsylvania

The Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, pays tribute to the 40 passengers and crew members who lost their lives aboard United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. This courageous group prevented their hijacked plane from reaching its intended target, saving countless lives.

The Memorial Plaza allows visitors to walk along the flight path and pay their respects at the Wall of Names, where the names of the 40 heroes are inscribed on individual white marble panels. The Tower of Voices, a 93-foot tall musical instrument holding 40 wind chimes, creates an ever-changing soundscape that serves as an auditory reminder of the courage and sacrifice of the passengers and crew members.

Visiting these solemn and poignant Memorial Day destinations offers a chance to reflect on the immense sacrifices made by our fallen heroes. As you prepare to honor their memory, consider displaying an American flag as a symbol of your patriotism and gratitude. May we always remember the brave men and women who have given their lives in service to our nation.