Memorial Day — the last Monday in May, when Americans remember and appreciate their fallen heroes — is often celebrated in U.S. towns and cities with a parade. If you’re looking for something a little bigger than your local county’s festivities, here are four of the biggest Memorial Day parades that will take place in the U.S. this year.
Little Neck–Douglaston Memorial Day Parade
Anything that happens in New York City is going to be big, and the Little Neck–Douglaston Parade is no exception. The parade is one of the largest Memorial Day events in the U.S. Each year, almost 10,000 people march; the parade is organized entirely by volunteers who work for hundreds of hours over the span of several months.
The parade was first held in 1927 and has been a yearly tradition since. It’s described as a “quintessentially American hometown tradition.” This year will be the parade’s 92nd year. Free refreshments, such as hot dogs and food from local merchants, will be available to marchers. There will also be a closing/awards ceremony after the parade.
National Memorial Day Parade
The National Memorial Day Parade in Washington, D.C., is the biggest Memorial Day event in the nation. This year, it will be held on May 27, beginning at 2 p.m. The parade is sponsored and organized by the American Veterans Center & World War II Veterans Committee.
The National Memorial Day Parade runs along Constitution Avenue. It’s a family-friendly event that reminds us of the meaning of Memorial Day by honoring soldiers from the American Revolution up to the present day. Hundreds of thousands of people flock to the city each year to watch the parade, which includes marching bands, floats and youth groups walking down Constitution Avenue. If you can’t make it to D.C. for the real thing, you can watch a live stream of the parade on YouTube or on Military.com.
Chicago’s Memorial Day Parade
Chicago will be holding its annual Memorial Day parade on Saturday, May 25. The festivities begin with a wreath laying ceremony in Daley Plaza at 11 a.m.; the parade itself starts at noon and goes south along State Street from Lake Street to Van Buren. This year, the parade’s grand marshal will be Major General Marion Garcia, Commanding General, 200th Military Police Command, United States Army Reserve.
Through its parade, Chicago honors the men and women who sacrificed their lives for our country. Families who have lost a relative in the United States Armed Forces while on active duty will be presented with a Gold Star lapel pin or a Next of Kin lapel pin. For the many people who are expected to attend — Chicago is actually the top travel destination for Memorial Day weekend — the parade is a moving way to celebrate a special and meaningful holiday.
Kings County Memorial Day Parade
If you like big parades, New York is the place to be this Memorial Day. Brooklyn’s 152nd Kings County Memorial Day Parade will begin at 11 a.m. on Memorial Day at 78th Street and Third Avenue. The parade is sponsored by the United Military Veterans of Kings County, and this year, New York State Senator Marty Golden will be the grand marshal.
At the parade, Catholic war veterans will lead local service organizations to honor fallen soldiers. The NYPD and FDNY will also march, and Brooklyn high school bands and antique fire trucks will be on display. The U.S. Army at Fort Hamilton performs a 21-gun salute after the ceremony. The Kings County parade is one of Brooklyn’s oldest traditions and one of the largest Memorial Day parades in the nation.