While the nation’s biggest city has enough permanent attractions to keep you occupied for many long weekends, let alone one, the annual Fleet Week event is one that shouldn’t be missed on Memorial Day.
Centered at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space museum on the Hudson River, about a dozen warships carrying 3,000 Navy Sailors and Marines converge on the city each year, and open their doors to the public. This year’s flotilla includes the U.S.S. Iwo Jima, which took part in Operation Iraqi Freedom and served as the command center for relief efforts in New Orleans in the aftermath Hurricane Katrina. Other ships are birthed at Stapleton Pier in Staten Island.
On Memorial Day, a ceremonial wreath laying is held at 11am followed by the unfurling of a 100-foot American flag as military aircraft fly overhead in the missing man formation.
It’s almost impossible to visit the nation’s capital without coming across one of the many tributes to those who died serving the country. From the venerable Vietnam Veterans Memorial to the recently finished National World War Two Memorial, all are remembered here.
But the most touching event on Memorial Day takes place at Arlington National Cemetery where an American flag is placed on each of its over 300,000 graves while the President or Vice President lays a wreath upon the Tomb of the Unknowns at 11am, as has been the tradition since President Johnson inaugurated the first Memorial Day in here 1968.
Chicago may be known as America’s Second City, but its Memorial Day Parade takes a back seat to none.
One of the country’s largest, it takes place every year on the Saturday before the holiday, kicking off a weekend of events around the city. After a wreath laying ceremony at 11am by the Eternal Flame in Daley Plaza – a monument built by the Gold Star Mothers of veterans killed in action in 1972 – the Parade makes its way along State Street through the heart of downtown starting at Noon.
This year keep an eye out for a long line of limousines and armored SUVs in the area as Chicago native, President Barack Obama will be spending the weekend at home, taking part in a wreath laying ceremony at nearby Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery on Memorial Day.
Yes, it’s the new home of MTV’s “Jersey Shore”, and its annual Urban Beach Week will have South Beach hopping, but those are just a couple of the many reasons why Miami is such a draw for vacationers.
Still, if you dig yourself out of the sand, only a couple of blocks away from the action on Collins Avenue and Ocean Drive you’ll find the Miami Beach Police Department, where the force’s Color Guard, local officials and veterans will be in attendance at the city’s Memorial Day ceremonies at 10am on Monday.
Sin City may not be synonymous with the kind of reverence we equate with Memorial Day, but it sure is a popular destination for the holiday weekend.
Unfortunately, try as we did, we craped out and couldn't find any ceremonies taking place anywhere among the buffets and blackjack tables, or anywhere in surrounding Clark County.
If you know of any, send us a tweet @fxnleisure with the time and place.
Happy Memorial Day!
We’ve surveyed the surveys and pinned down America’s most popular Memorial Day destinations. But while you're kicking off the summer in one of the country’s great cities, you may want to take a moment to reflect upon the true meaning of the holiday, and pay tribute to the fallen heroes who gave their lives to protect your freedom. Here are our top five picks, and the best places in each to pay your respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation, while saluting the men and women of the armed forces fighting on the front lines today.