2017 Memorial Day Observances
There are a variety of ways to honor the fallen this Memorial Day, several are listed below. Orginally, it was called Decoration Day, named after the practice of families and citizens who “decorated” the Civil War graves of fallen troops with wreaths and flowers.
The day dedicated to remembrance was expanded to include American soldiers who died while serving in World War I and then all American conflicts. Memorial Day became a federal holiday in 1971 and now recognizes the sacrifice of all who have lost their lives while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.
In 2000 Congress passed additional legislation calling on all Americans to pause for a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day.
To pay tribute to the men and women who served and sacrificed for the country, you can locate a VA National Cemetery nearest you that is holding a 2017 Memorial Day Ceremony HERE.
Events in the Tampa Bay region are listed below:
Friday – May 26, 2017
Saturday – May 27, 2017
Honor Our Heroes Run – 8 a.m. – The start for the 5K run is 100 E. State St., Oldsmar. Organizers have teamed up with VIP Warriors, a local organization that provides equipment for military veterans. For details, contact Karla Malone (703)357-6184.
Sarasota National Cemetery – 10 a.m. – Patriot Plaza, 9810 State Road 72, Sarasota. The Memorial Day event, sponsored by the American Legion NO-VEL Post 159, will feature patriotic music by the Sun Coast Wind Ensemble and a ceremony featuring State Rep. Navy Veteran Julio Gonzalez, a Navy veteran, and Lt. Gen. Thomas Montgomery. It’s open to the public.
Cape Canaveral National Cemetery – 10 a.m. – A public ceremony is planned at the flag pole and assembly area at the Cape Canaveral National Cemetery, 5525 U.S. Highway 1, North, Mims. For more information, call (321) 383-2638.
Jacksonville National Cemetery – 10 a.m. - The public is invited to the Memorial Day Ceremony that will be held at the Flag Pole at the Jacksonville National Cemetery, 4083 Lannie Road, Jacksonville. Call for details: (904) 766-5222.
Sunday – May 28, 2017
Memorial Day Tribute – 1-4 p.m. – Crest Lake Park, 201 Glenwood Ave., Clearwater. Sponsored by the Tampa Bay Veterans Alliance, the event includes a Marine Corps Honor Guard, guest speakers like Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos, bugle calls, flag folding and catered barbecue.
Tallahassee National Cemetery – 3 p.m. – The public is invited to gather at the Committal Shelter for a Memorial Day ceremony at the Tallahassee National Cemetery, 5015 Apalachee Parkway, Tallahassee. Call (850) 402-8941for more details.
Tribute to Heroes Parade & Block Party – 6-8:30 p.m. – Lakewood Ranch, 8100 Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, Bradenton. Festivities begin at 6 with the parade at 7 p.m. featuring kids on decorated bicycles, floats, local bands, choir groups, drum lines and dance teams, food and live entertainment. Proceeds benefit Manasota Operations Troop Support (MOTS), the Denis V. Cooper Foundation, and Braden River VFW 12055.
National Memorial Day Concert – Live on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol - 8-9:30 pm – broadcast on your local PBS station, the event features musical performances, documentary footage and dramatic readings that honor the military service of all our men and women in uniform, and to unite in the remembrance and appreciation of the fallen and to serve those who are grieving.
Monday – May 29, 2017
Carry the Load March and Rally – 8 am -2 pm – Ferg’s, 490 Channelside Drive, Tampa. The idea is to have citizens, scouts and ROTC members participate by carrying a rucksack, memento or photo to honor service members and their families for the sacrifices they make. Registration is followed by a brief ceremony, Taps and moment of silence at 8:40. The 5K walk moves down Bayshore Boulevard for 2.5 miles, does an about face, and returns to Ferg’s for a live band and Memorial Rally.
14th Annual Fallen Veterans Ride to Bushnell – 9 a.m. - Start location at the I-75 North, Interstate Rest Area, 1.5 miles north of I-275. The Tampa Bay Chapter of the Defenders Law Enforcement MC is organizing the ride. Kickstands up at 9:30 a.m. to the Memorial Service at Bushnell’s Florida National Cemetery at 11 a.m.
Bradenton Memorial Day Ceremony – 9 a.m. - at Veterans’ Monument Park, directly behind the Manatee Memorial Hospital near U.S. 41 and the Bradenton Riverwalk. The guest speaker scheduled is Retired Rear Admiral Richard Buchanan, sponsored by the Manatee County Veterans’ Council.
Bay Pines National Cemetery – 10 a.m. - The Bay Pines VA in Pinellas County will commemorate Memorial Day with a ceremony at the Front Committal at the Bay Pines National Cemetery, 10,000 Bay Pines Blvd. North, St. Petersburg. Keynote speaker scheduled is U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Edward W. Sandlin, Commander, Air Station Clearwater, and U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, and local VA leaders. The ceremony will also feature musical performances by the Suncoast Symphony Orchestra and Vietnam Veterans who attend may receive a commemorative lapel of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War
Sarasota Memorial Day Parade – 10 a.m. - The parade, in downtown Sarasota, starts at Main Street and Osprey Avenue and concludes at J.D. Hamel Park, at Main Street and Gulfstream Avenue. “Celebrate, Honor, Remember,” is the ceremony that will pay tribute to the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway. Sarasota Military Academy students will lead the parade carrying an American flag flown at the Battle of Midway, followed by the U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard. Keynote speaker is James D’Angelo. who served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam era and founded the Midway Memorial Foundation in 1992.
MathAlive and Military Family Day – 9:45 a.m. – A grand opening ceremony at the Glazer Children’s Museum, 110 W. Gasparilla Plaza, Tampa. Free admission for active-duty military and veterans and their families for Memorial Day. Events will feature Florida Military Youth of the Year, Gregory Davis, a robotics team demonstration, math and art exhibits and challenges.
Venice Annual Memorial Day Ceremony – 10 a.m. - Patriots Park, U.S. 41, just north of the intersection of U.S. 41 Bypass North and U.S. 41 Business. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8118 is sponsoring the ceremony which is open to the public. The American Legion NO-VEL Post 159 host and open house immediately after the ceremony at their Post Home, 1770 E. Venice Ave., Venice.
Florida National Cemetery – 11 a.m. – An ceremony honoring those who have fallen is planned at the Florida National Cemetery Veterans’ Memorial assembly area, 6502 SW 102nd Avenue (Sumter County), Bushnell. For details, call (352) 793-7740 or 1074.
Avon Park Memorial Day Program – 1 p.m. – American Legion Post 69, 1301 W. Bell St., Avon Park, has planned a special program to honor the troops and service animals that have given the ultimate sacrifice for the nation. Contact the Post Service Officer for more information at 850-718-7773.
Annual Memorial Day Concert – 2-4 p.m. – Bring your lawn chairs and coolers for the concert featuring the Sarasota Concert Band at Philippi Estate Park, 5500 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Adults $5, 12 and under are free. For details call: 941-364-2263.
Memorial Day Sunset Ceremony – 7 p.m. – Largo Central Park, 101 Central Park Dr., Largo. The City of Largo is inviting the public to gather at sunset to honor those who have served and died for the country. A color guard, wreath laying and music will round out the ceremony.
Elsewhere in Florida
Barrancas National Cemetery – 9 a.m. – A Memorial Day Ceremony is set at Shelter A, Barrancas National Cemetery at the Naval Air Station, 80 Hovey Road, Pensacola, FL. Call for details: (850) 453-4108 or 453-4846.
St. Augustine National Cemetery, – 10 a.m. – A Memorial Day Ceremony is scheduled at the Flag pole, St. Augustine National Cemetery, 104 Marine Street, St. Augustine, FL. For information contact: Florida National Cemetery at (904) 766-5222.
South Florida National Cemetery – 10 a.m. – A Memorial Day Ceremony, open to the public, is planned at the Flag pole and Section 39, at the South Florida National Cemetery, 6501 South State Road 7, Lake Worth. For details, call (561) 649-6489.
WASHINGTON D.C. AREA
Tomb of the Unknowns, Arlington National Cemetery – 11 a.m. – The U.S. Army Military District of Washington will conduct a Presidential Armed Forces Full Honors Wreath-Laying Ceremony at 11 a.m., at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, to be followed by an observance program hosted by the Department of Defense in the cemetery's Memorial Amphitheater. A musical prelude by the United States Air Force Band will begin in the amphitheater at 10:30 a.m. All ceremonies are free and open to the public.
National Memorial Day Parade – 2 p.m. - The annual parade is held to commemorate the fallen troops from the Revolutionary War through the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The parade traditionally marches along Constitution Avenue in Washington D.C. Grand Marshals include Ken Burns, documentary film maker; Retired Gen. Richard Myers, 15th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a tribute to World War II generation.