The National Memorial Day Parade in Washington is a flag-waving event with patriotic marches and floats. The parade is sponsored by the World War II Veterans Committee and is an annual tradition of remembrance for those who have died serving their country. It follows a tradition going back to the first Memorial Day, shortly after the end of the Civil War.
Many men and women in uniform participate in the annual parade, and an expected crowd of more than a 250,000 Americans will line the National Mall to watch thousands of participants, including veterans and active-duty military personnel, historic re-enactors, marching bands, musical performers, and celebrity supporters of our troops. This is the largest Memorial Day event in the United States.
The National Memorial Day Parade usually takes place on Memorial Day. It is traditionally preceded by musical performances and ceremonies at the reviewing stand at 1 p.m., located at the National Archives on the corner of Seventh Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW. The 2020 event has been canceled.
The National Memorial Day Parade route begins at the corner of Constitution Avenue NW and Seventh Street NW and proceeds along Constitution Avenue, past the National Mall and the White House, ending at 17th Street NW. The view from the National Archives is one of the best on the route. There is no seating, so bring your own chairs if you don't want to stand. Watching the parade is free; you don't need a ticket.
The best way to get to central Washington is via the Metro. The National Archives-Penn Quarter-Navy Memorial stop (Green and Yellow Lines) is about one block from the parade route. The Federal Triangle and Smithsonian stops (Orange, Blue, and Silver Lines) are also very close to the route.
If you can't get to the parade in person, you can still revel in all the pomp. It will be broadcast live on local TV stations across the country as well as on the American Forces Network for members of the military serving around the world. If you're in Washington but can't get to the parade, you can watch on News Channel 8. It will also be streamed live on YouTube.