Memorial Day 2017

Memorial Day will be observed on Monday, May 29, 2017.  It is a Federal holiday observed on the last Monday in May, and commemorates the men and women who died while in the military service.

Pay tribute to the U.S. men and women who died during military service by observing a national moment of remembrance with a minute of silence at 3:00 PM, local time.

Photo By 3rd Class Bryan Mai
Photo By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Bryan Mai

2017 Memorial Day Schedule of Major Events

  • Arlington National Cemetery, Washington D.C.
    • Flags-in – Thursday, May 25, 2017, 1 p.m.
    • Tomb of the Unknown Soldier – Monday, May 29, 2017, 11 a.m.
  • Air Force Memorial – Monday, May 29, 2017, 9 a.m., Washington D.C.
  • Fleet Week – Memorial Events New York City, NY.
    • Parade of Ships – Wednesday, May 24, 2017, 8:15 a.m. – 1 p.m.
    • Veterans Appreciation Day & Memorial Tribute – Sunday, May 28, Noon – 4 p.m.
    • New Rochelle Memorial Day Ceremony – Monday, May 29, 2017, Noon – 6 p.m.
    • Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Memorial Day Observance – Monday, May 29, 10 a.m. – noon
    • Intrepid Memorial Day Commemoration – Monday, May 29, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
    • For a more detailed schedule of events, parades, and concerts visit the Fleet Week New York Events page.
  • 150th Gettysburg Memorial Day Parade & Ceremonies – Monday, May 29, 2 p.m., Gettysburg, PA.
  • National Memorial Day Concert – Sunday, May 28, 8 p.m. est., West Lawn of U.S. Capitol.
  • National Memorial Day Parade – Monday, May 29, 2017, beginning at 2 p.m., Washington D.C.
  • Navy Memorial – TBD, Washington D.C.
    • Rolling Thunder Ceremony – Saturday, May 27, 2017, 11 a.m.
    • First Reserve Assn. Ceremony – Monday, May 29, 2017 10 a.m.
    • NDW Wreath Laying Ceremony – Monday, May 29, 2017 1p.m.
  • President Lincoln’s Cottage – Monday, May 29, 2017, 10 am., Washington D.C.
  • Vietnam Veterans Memorial – Monday, May 29, 2017, 1 p.m., Washington D.C.
  • World War II Memorial – Monday, May 29, 2017, 9 a.m., Washington D.C

Memorial Day Activities & Events to Honor Those Who Died

Memorial Day Commemoration
Photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Derek Poole


  • Visit cemeteries and memorials.
  • Attend Memorial Day ceremonies.
  • Volunteer to place an American Flag on each grave in national cemeteries.
  • Observe a minute of silence at 3:00 PM, local time.
  • Attend a Memorial Day parade, festival, fair or concert such as the National Memorial Day Concert.
  • Run for charity on Memorial Day weekend.
  • Volunteer to support events such as the National Memorial Day Parade.
  • Donate to veterans and military support groups.


Memorial Day began sometime after the Civil War with both formal and informal ceremonies at graves and ceremonies for the soldiers who had fallen in battle.  Many places claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day in 1866, including Waterloo, New York and both Macon and Columbus, Georgia.  On May 5, 1868, the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), an Union veterans organization, established Decoration Day, May 30, as a time for the nation to decorate the dead with flowers.  Arlington National Cemetery held the first large observance later that year.

By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held throughout the country on May 30.  Over time, the Army and Navy adopted policies for proper observances, and state legislatures passed proclamations designating the day.  After World War I the day was expanded to honor those who died in all American wars, and in 1971, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday to be celebrated on the last Monday in May.

Memorial Day Versus Veterans Day

Memorial Day is meant for remembering and honoring military personnel who died in the service of their country, particularly those who died in battle, or as a result of a wound sustained in battle.

Veterans Day is intended to thank all those who have honorably served in the military – in war time or peace time.

Quick Memorial Day Fact

The Poem “Bivouac of the Dead” is often recited on Memorial Day and inscribed on iron tablets throughout many of the country’s national cemeteries including the original entrance to Arlington National Cemetery.  The poem was written by Theodore O’Hara to honor his fellow soldiers from Kentucky who died in the Mexican-American War.

Bivouac (/ˈbivo͞oˌak/) – A temporary camp without tents or cover.

Memorial Day Quotes

It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived. — George S. Patton

We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them. – Francis Amasa Walker

The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example. – Benjamin Disraeli

“As America celebrates Memorial Day, we pay tribute to those who have given their lives in our nation’s wars.” – John M. McHugh