Veterans Day was originally established to honor Americans who had served in World War I. The national holiday is celebrated on November 11, the anniversary of the day World War I ended in 1918. Today Veterans Day honors veterans of all wars for their patriotism and willingness to serve in the military and sacrifice for our country.
Veterans Day is a great time to visit the monuments and memorials in Washington, DC. Many of the memorials and a few other attractions around the region host special events in honor of America’s veterans. Washington DC does not host a parade in honor of Veterans Day. The main event in the nation's capital is the observance at Arlington National Cemetery. (see the details below) Here is the schedule of events for 2012:
Arlington National Cemetery
November 11, 2012, 11 am. Across the Potomac from Washington at the west end of the Memorial Bridge, Arlington, Virginia. (703) 607-8000 This is the national Veterans day service with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Seating in the amphitheater is limited, so visitors should plan to arrive at least a half hour before the ceremony.
American Freedom Festival
November 10, 2012. Patriot Center at George Mason University, Fairfax, VA. Legendary rock bands Chicago and Kansas perform a tribute concert that honors our veterans and Armed Forces while benefiting various organizations that serve and support our veterans, active duty military service members, wounded warriors and their families throughout the country. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.com. A Veterans Career Hiring Event will be held from 9 am – 3 pm in conjunction with the event. For more information, visit www.affhiringevents.com.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
November 11, 2012, 1 pm. Constitution Avenue and Henry Bacon Dr. NW, Washington, DC. Color guard, speakers and a wreath-laying ceremony pay tribute to all who served and sacrificed during the Vietnam War America's other conflicts.
Vietnam Women's Memorial
November 11, 2012, 9 am-12 pm and 2-4 pm. Constitution Avenue and Henry Bacon Drive, NW, Washington, DC. (301) 314-8505. Vietnam-era veterans and the children of veterans tell stories "in their own voices" about their experiences. There will also be stories featuring soldiers of the current struggles in Iraq and Afghanistan and other locations around the world.
World War II Memorial
November 11, 2012, 9 am. 17th Street, between Constitution and Independence Avenues, NW Washington, DC. (202) 619-7222. Wreath laying ceremony.
November 11, 2012, 1 pm. 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC. (202) 737-2300. The Naval District of Washington will lay a wreath, at the Lone Sailor Statue in commemoration of Veterans Day. As part of the Memorial’s “Authors on Deck” book lecture series, authors Dwight Zimmerman and John Gresham will present Uncommon Valor: The Medal of Honor and The Six Warriors Who Earned it in Afghanistan and Iraq. The presentation begins at noon.
Air Force Memorial
November 11, 2012, 11 am. One Air Force Memorial Drive, Arlington, VA. Wreath laying ceremony and a two-minute moment of silence will be observed to commemorate those members of the US armed forces who were killed during war.
National Marine Corps Museum
November 10, 2012, noon. 18900 Jefferson Davis Highway, Triangle, Virginia. (800) 397-7585. Celebrate the Marine Corps Birthday and Veterans Day with a ceremonial sword cake cutting.
Mount Vernon Estate & Gardens
November 11, 2012. Mount Vernon, Virginia. Special activities include a patriotic community concert by the all-veteran barbershop chorus at 11 a.m., at 2 pm wreathlaying at the tomb of our first commander-in-chief, George Washington. Active duty military personnel and veterans are admitted free-of-charge. The wreathlaying is included with regular Mount Vernon admission. The barbershop concert and Martha Washington program are free.
Manassas Veterans Day Parade
November 10, 2012, 11 am. Manassas, Virginia. The community parade includes military and high school bands, pipe and drum corps teams, military units from the various Armed Services, military vehicles, and members from local veteran organizations.