Commemorate Memorial Day Weekend At Seven Engaging Battlefields And Historic Destinations

The American Battlefield Trust recommends the following programs, events and activities at some of America’s most famous battlefields and historic sites in honor of Memorial Day 2019

(Washington, D.C.) — Each May, Americans come together to honor fallen service members throughout our history on Memorial Day, a holiday with origins tracing back to the Civil War. To commemorate the sacrifices made by of our nation’s military, the American Battlefield Trust — a national nonprofit organization that preserves battlefields of the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War — recommends the following events, volunteer opportunities and activities your family may want to consider for Memorial Day weekend 2019.

May 24-26: Memorial Day Ceremony and Volunteering at Chalmette National Cemetery, Chalmette, La.
Throughout Memorial Day weekend, Chalmette National Cemetery offers ways to honor the brave men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice. A Memorial Day ceremony includes a color guard, bagpiper, remarks from members of the Vietnam Veterans of VFW Post 3798 and a special salute to Vietnam War veterans buried in the cemetery. Volunteers are needed to place and remove American flags at all 14,000+ headstones in the cemetery. Learn more.

Chalmette Battlefield. Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, Chalmette, La. Zack Smith,

May 25: Memorial Day Weekend Luminaria at National Cemetery, Fredericksburg, Va.
The Fredericksburg National Cemetery will host its 24th annual luminaria to honor those soldiers who died in service to their country. “Taps” will be played every 30 minutes and local scouts will light 15,300 candles in the cemetery to honor each veteran buried there. Learn more.

May 25-27: Museum of the American Revolution Memorial Day Weekend, Philadelphia, Pa.
Join the Museum of the American Revolution in paying tribute to those who lost their lives in service to their country during the American Revolution, and what it took to win the American Revolution. Tours and hands-on activities are offered throughout the weekend, and carnations will be available for visitors to place on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier of the Revolution at nearby Independence National Historical Park’s Washington Square. Learn more.

May 25 – 26: Memorial Day at Drum Barracks, Wilmington, CA.
During Memorial Day Weekend, commemorate the brave men and women who fought for our country and paid the ultimate sacrifice. Pay tribute to the fallen soldiers of the Civil War through the Drum Barracks Civil War museum. The museum is closed on Monday. Learn more.

May 26: “They Also Gave the Last Full Measure” Tour, Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.
President Lincoln termed the physiological battlefield of the human mind as the “Last Full Measure of Devotion.” On Sunday, May 26, join Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in a conversation exploring that phrase and what it meant for soldiers, civilians and enslaved African Americans who gave full measures of devotion during and after the Civil War. Learn more.  

May 27: Memorial Day Service at Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial, Put-In-Bay, Ohio
Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial was established to honor those who fought in the War of 1812’s Battle of Lake Erie and to celebrate the long-lasting peace among the United States, Great Britain and Canada. This Memorial Day, Put-In-Bay American Legion Post #542 will lead a service at the Memorial. Learn more.

May 27: Retreat Ceremony at Ball’s Bluff Cemetery, Leesburg, Va.
Ball’s Bluff invites everyone to attend a retreat to honor the soldiers who fell during the battle. The commemoration will include a reading of the casualties, an excerpt of the 1884 Memorial Day speech of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr, the bugle sounding of retreat and the lowering of the flag in the cemetery. This is one of the few times in over 150 years that the names of the fallen have been mentioned together on this battlefield. Learn more.

Luminaries set out in preparation for Memorial Day at Fredericksburg National Cemetery. Buddy Secor

In the years following the Civil War, Americans began dedicating a day each spring to remember friends and family members who lost their lives during that tragic conflict. Initially known as Decoration Day, the observance was first widely held on May 30, 1868, to commemorate the sacrifices of U.S. soldiers, by order of Brig. Gen. John A. Logan of the Grand Army of the Republic, a Union veterans group.

Since then, the tradition has evolved to become Memorial Day, observed on the last Monday in May. In 1918, the day was broadened to include the dead from all American wars. In 1971, Congress declared Memorial Day a national holiday.

For more Memorial Day activities and destinations, check the National Park Service events calendar at, visit a state park website, search for museums and historic sites near you or visit the American Battlefield Trust’s events calendar.

The American Battlefield Trust is dedicated to preserving America’s hallowed battlegrounds and educating the public about what happened there and why it matters today. To date, the nonprofit, nonpartisan organization has protected nearly 50,000 acres of battlefield land associated with the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War.  Learn more at