Top 10 destinations to commemorate Memorial Day

Memorial Day is considered by many to be the unofficial kick-off to summer as the weather is just right for a perfect 3-day weekend. However, the true meaning of the holiday is often lost in our eagerness to plan a getaway. The holiday was originally created after the Civil War to honor the fallen Union soldiers and over the last century, the meaning has evolved to commemorate all American soldiers who served our country. Here is a list, compiled by discount travel site, of the top 10 destinations to honor our military heroes over Memorial Day weekend.



    WWII Memorial, Washington D.C. What it commemorates: The World War II Memorial honors the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the United States, the more than 400,000 who died, and all who supported the war effort from home.  Getting there: The memorial is located on 17th Street, between Constitution and Independence Avenues, and is flanked by the Washington Monument to the east and the Lincoln Memorial to the west. The memorial is operated by the National Park Service and is open to visitors 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  For more information visit the National Park Service website or call the Park Service at (202) 619-7222.
    World War II Memorial/Richard Lato


    USS Arizona Memorial – Pearl Harbor, Honolulu, HI What it commemorates: The USS Arizona is the final resting place for many of the ship's 1,177 crewmen who lost their lives on December 7, 1941. The USS Arizona Memorial grew out of wartime desire to establish some sort of memorial at Pearl Harbor to honor those who died in the attack.  Getting there: The Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is the primary portal for visitors coming to Pearl Harbor to visit the USS Arizona Memorial and other Pearl Harbor Historic Sites.Visitors can receive information about planning their day at Pearl Harbor immediately upon entering the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center. Tickets and information are available in Aloha Court.


    USS Midway Museum, San Diego, CA What it commemorates: The USS Midway Museum is dedicated to preserving and honoring the 225,000 young men and women who served aboard the USS Midway. Getting there: The USS Midway Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily (except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day).  Last admission is at 4 p.m.
    USS Midway


    9/11 Memorial, New York, NY     What it commemorates: The Memorial is a national tribute of remembrance and honor to the men, women and children killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 and February 26, 1993. Getting there: Enter the 9/11 Memorial at the intersection of Albany and Greenwich Streets (1 Albany St.) Any visitor may be asked to show valid photo ID matching the name on their visitor pass (which is required for entry). A quick reminder: No baggage larger than 8”x17”x19” will be permitted, and bag storage is not available on site. For more information visit the memorial's website.
    National September 11 Memorial & Museum


    Battle Field at Gettysburg, Gettysburg, PA   What it commemorates: The Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg is where President Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863. Getting there: Begin your visit at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center at 1195 Baltimore Pike, Gettysburg, where the park offers free information, an extensive museum about Gettysburg and the Civil War, the fully restored Gettysburg Cyclorama that dramatically depicts "Pickett's Charge", and the film "A New Birth of Freedom", narrated by Morgan Freeman, which focuses on the significance of Gettysburg. 


    Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, VA What it commemorates: Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery, inside Arlington National Cemetery, is one of the country’s oldest national cemeteries. The cemetery’s rolling hills mark the final resting place for more than 14,000 veterans, including those that fought in the Civil War. More than four million people visit Arlington National Cemetery annually, many coming to pay final respects at graveside services, of which nearly 100 are conducted each week. Getting there: A first stop on a trip to the cemetery should include the Visitors Center, located by the cemetery entrance, where maps, guidebooks, exhibits, information services (to include grave locations), a bookstore and restrooms can be found. Before your visit, take time to acquaint yourself with Arlington National Cemetery website.
    Arlington National Cemetery


    Granary Burying Ground, Boston, MA What it commemorates: Founded in 1660, the Granary is the third oldest burying ground in Boston proper. In 1737, when grain was stored where the present Park Street Church stands, the burying ground was renamed the Granary. Along with Massachussetts Governors, Clergymen, and Mayors, three signers of the Declaration of Independence, Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Robert Treat Paine, are buried here. Getting there: The cemetery is located on Park and Tremont Streets in Boston proper. It is open June 17- August 31, Tuesday- Saturday 9:30am-3:30pm and the admission is free.  For more information visit the Freedom Trail website.
    City of Boston


    Washington Memorial Park, Seattle, WA                           What it commemorates: Washington Memorial Park, now run by the Bonney-Watson family, is the oldest cemetery in Seattle. The Bonney-Watson family had been in business making caskets since 1861. The now manage the oldest cemetery and business in Seattle. Getting there: On Memorial Day weekend, more than 100 volunteers from Veterans, youth and Scouting groups and other community members will place flags on the 3,000+ Veteran's graves at Bonney-Watson's Washington Memorial Park. The ceremony will begin at 3:00 PM on Monday, May 28 at Washington Memorial Park's POW/MIA Living Memorial Plaza.  For more information visit the Bonney-Watson website.


    Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier, Long Beach, CA  What it commemorates: In 1908 the citizens of Belmont Heights asked the City of Long Beach to build the neighborhood a pier--a request that was flatly denied. Bruised by the city's refusal, but determined to build a pier (and fed up with high taxes), the neighborhood decided to break away from Long Beach and soon had formed the new City of Belmont Heights. On Christmas Eve of 1915 the much anticipated pier opened to the public and a California landmark was born. Getting there: Belmont Pier Opens one hour before sunrise and closes at midnight daily. For more information visit the Belmont Pier website.
    Belmont Pier


    Colonial Williamsburg, Williamsbug, VA What it commemorates: The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation operates the world’s largest living history museum —the restored 18th-century capital of Britain’s largest, wealthiest, and most populous outpost of empire in the New World. Getting there: This year on Memorial Day, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation will present a modern service honoring military veterans who died while serving their country. A procession with Fife and Drum support will begin at the Palace and proceed through the grounds. A brief commemorative service with musket and cannon volleys will take place at the French grave site.  For more information visit Colonial Williamsburg's website or call 1-800-HISTORY.
    The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
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