Memorial Day 2016
at The National WWII Museum

Memorial Day honors those who have given all for their country and for freedom. Join us for events that honor these brave men and women.

This Memorial Day, we highlight the artifacts, images, and stories in our Digital Collection that honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice in one of the world’s darkest hours.

  • Saturday, May 28 & Sunday, May 29

    1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m. Marine Corps Band Performance Musical Performance
    US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center

    Monday, May 30

    11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Memorial Day Ceremony US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center

    Watch It Live!

    Can't make it to the Museum? Watch a live video stream of the event.

    Watch Event
  • Monday, May 30

    10:30 a.m.–11:00 a.m. Marine Corps Quintet Performance Musical Performance
    Outside US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center 1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m. Tom Tudor, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Guest Speaker
    US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center

    Tom was the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington, Virginia. He tells his story and the stories of the important military figures buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

    3:00 pm National Moment of Silence & Bell-Ringing US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center 3:30 p.m.–4:30 pm Clay Bonnyman Evans, Grandson of 1st Lt. Alexander Bonnyman Guest Speaker
    US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center

    Clay is the grandson of 1st Lieutenant Alexander Bonnyman, a Medal of Honor recipient who was interred in a battlefield cemetery after the Battle of Tarawa in 1943. The location of the cemetery was lost by the end of the war, but was located in March 2015. Evans tells the story of the archaeological digs he took part in to recover the remains of his grandfather and other fallen heroes.

Commemorate Memorial Day in your community

Visit a Cemetery

First observed in 1868, Memorial Day was originally known as Decoration Day — a day when the graves of Civil War soldiers were cleaned and decorated, and while Memorial Day traditions have come and gone, this original observance has remained.

Special thanks to the Chalmette National Cemetery. Memorial Day at Chalmette National Cemetery

Check with your local military or private cemetery to find out if they have an annual ceremony or if they need volunteers to decorate graves. Make your visit a family affair or get organized with a school, church or community group.

Make it Social

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are a great way to share news, photos and life events with friends and family. Why not use social media this Memorial Day to show your gratitude to those who have given their lives for our country?

  • Use Your Profile Picture to Show Your Gratitude

    Show your Facebook friends that you are proud and thankful for those who have sacrificed in defense of our freedom. Change your profile picture to an image of an American flag or use a photo of someone who gave their life in the line of duty. Encourage your friends to do the same.

  • Tell Us Why You Are Thankful

    Tell us what Memorial Day means to you and why you are grateful by sharing a tribute on the Museum's Facebook Page. If there is someone to whom you are particularly grateful, share their photo and story with us.

  • Tweet Your Thanks

    Share a message of gratitude with your followers.

Write a Letter to the Editor

The National WWII Museum encourages you to write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper to remind those in your community about the true meaning of Memorial Day. Feel free to use the sample letter below or write one of your own.

Memorial Day is almost upon us, and while this day may bring to mind barbeque, baseball and the start of summer, it is important that we take a moment to reflect on the real reason for this holiday – the remembrance of lives lost while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Freedom is not free – it is paid for by the sacrifices of brave men and women in uniform who gave their lives in defense of America. Memorial Day is when we remember and honor these heroes.

Memorial Day also serves as a reminder to give thanks for those veterans still with us, who willingly risk their lives every day around the globe.

Let us honor our American heroes – living and fallen – not just on Memorial Day but every day, and let us give thanks for their many sacrifices on our behalf.

The editorial page of your local newspaper will include guidelines for submitting a letter, including where to send it.

Following these additional instructions means your letter will be more likely to be printed in the newspaper of your choice:

  • Make your letter personal by telling us what Memorial Day means to you.
  • Check your local newspaper’s guidelines for exact length restrictions; most newspapers ask that you keep your letter under 200 words.
  • Include your name and contact information. Your local newspaper will want to verify the source of the letter.
  • Submit your letter several days prior to Memorial Day to ensure it reaches the editor before his or her deadline.
  • Include information paying tribute to local fallen heroes.

Organize a School Observance

If your school is still in session, organizing a school observance is a terrific way to honor and remember the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform. Here are a few ideas for ideas for teachers and students in the days leading up to or immediately after Memorial Day. You can also consider a ceremony with your family, church or community group.

  • Memorial Day Fact Sheet

    Memorial Day Fact Sheet

    Print out and share the Memorial Day fact sheet.

  • Moment of Silence

    Observe your own moment of silence in commemoration of America’s fallen. The national moment of silence occurs at 3:00pm local time, but it is permissible to choose an earlier time in the day if needed.

    Play "Taps," the traditional tune played at military funerals, or if you have a trumpet player, enlist them to perform at your ceremony.

  • Honor Personal Connections

    If a student has a family member or ancestor who died in a war, have him or her compose a brief biography and read it over the PA system or for your group on a day near Memorial Day.

    The biography can read something like this:

    Hi, I’m Joe Smith in the 8th grade. My great-grandfather, Samuel Smith, fought in World War II. He was in the Navy. He served aboard a destroyer that fought in the Pacific. He died when his ship was hit by a torpedo from a Japanese submarine in 1944. He was only 26 years old. My family has a picture of him in his navy uniform that we keep on our mantle. I am proud to have a relative who fought for the United States in WWII.

Honor Your Hero

The National WWII Museum offers a number of different ways to honor your personal hero and support our mission of honoring the legacy of the WWII generation.

  • Honor Roll of Charter Members

    As a Charter Member of The National WWII Museum, you can permanently honor the service and sacrifice of your personal connection to WWII at the Museum built to honor the legacy of freedom secured by the courageous men and women of the "Greatest Generation."

    Through a Charter Membership, or by joining the exclusive Patriots Circle, your name and the names of your loved ones who served on the battlefield or on the Home Front will be displayed on an interactive kiosk inside the Museum's main pavilion, on display for thousands of visitors to see. Your listing will also be accessible on the Museum’s website.

    Give your connection to WWII the recognition they deserve.
    Become a Museum Member today.

  • Personal Pages

    Tell the story of someone from your family or community that made the ultimate sacrifice in WWII or just share your gratitude with a Personal Page on The National WWII Museum website. These pages can include text and images or you can mobilize your friends and family with a fundraising goal. Personal Pages are a great way to share the true meaning of Memorial Day.

  • Knit Your Bit

    Since 2006, The National WWII Museum has collected more than 10,000 scarves and distributed them to our nation’s veterans through our Knit Your Bit program. Most of these scarves have arrived at the Museum with heartfelt notes about what inspired the knitter to participate or a dedication to their personal connection to WWII. For Memorial Day, we encourage you to knit your own scarf as a tribute or organize a knitting circle in your community.

  • Road to Victory Commemorative Brick Program

    With a personalized, Commemorative Brick at The National WWII Museum, you can create a lasting tribute that honors the courage, commitment and sacrifice of your personal WWII connection. Your gift will help us continue to build the finest WWII museum in the world, dedicated to telling the story of the American Experience in WWII and helping future generations understand the true price of freedom.

Become A Corporate Partner

Corporate Partners help the Museum connect with our audiences where they live, work and play, while making a positive impact in the marketplace and the workplace. These combined efforts inspire and transform lives through the lessons and ideals of this epic moment in American history. Let our staff develop and manage a unique program showcasing your support and engaging your customers, clients and employees through VIP events, cause-branding initiatives, workforce development and executive leadership programming.

Learn More

Support The Museum

All purchases from the Museum Store support the educational mission of The National WWII Museum.

  • Hallowed Grounds:
    America's Overseas Military Cemeteries

    Learn the stories of each of these 22 national treasures, located in eight different countries.

    Purchase
  • Thank You Veterans
    for My Freedom T-Shirt

    Show your appreciation for the sacrifices of our men and women in service with this patriotic tee.

    Purchase