National Parks: Memorial Day Special Events

National Parks: Special Places for Reflection and Remembrance

Memorial Day, a special day to remember those who gave the last full measure in service to community and country. Our national parks are unique places for reflection and remembrance on this day and many of the 28 different kinds of parks in the national park system will host special events this Memorial Day weekend.

“America’s national parks represent something unique to the hundreds of millions of people who visit each year,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “Whether it’s wandering through the stunning scenery of Yellowstone or Grand Teton national parks or joining thousands in remembrance along the National Mall in our nation’s capital, national parks preserve America’s historical, cultural and natural landscapes. This Memorial Day, and every other day of the year, I encourage people to get out and find your park.”

Fredericksburg National Cemetery during annual illumination program
Fredericksburg National Cemetery during annual illumination program – National Parks Service

On Saturday, May 28, the National Park Service (NPS) will host the 21st annual luminaria at Fredericksburg National Cemetery in Virginia. The program will begin at 8 p.m. and run until 11 p.m. In the event of rain, the date will be moved to Sunday, May 29th. This program is free to the public. A separate commemorative ceremony will be held on Memorial Day, May 30.

On Memorial Day at Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas, the park and local community will honor a World War I veteran, James Alexander Cary, who joined the National Park Service in 1923 and was murdered by bootleggers on March 12, 1927, while patrolling on West Mountain. The Cary memorial at the Garland County Veterans Memorial and Military Park consists of a bronze plaque and the iconic park ranger campaign hat mounted on a large boulder.

National parks are also places for healing. Former U.S. Army soldier and Iraq War Veteran, Juan “JT” Ibanez, visited 12 national parks in 25 days last spring and documented his journey along the way.

Visit the National Park Service’s calendar of events to find programs taking place this weekend. Here are some ways to observe Memorial Day in national parks:



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