RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Memorial Day — a federal holiday — is observed every year on the last Monday of May to remember the men and women who have died while serving in the U.S. military.
Initially established as Decoration Day on May 5, 1868, by a group of Union veterans who fought in the Civil War (1861-1865), the holiday provided Americans a chance to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. By the late 1800s, Americans began to observe Memorial Day on May 30. The date was chosen after it was believed flowers would bloom across the country on that day, according to the VA.
Read on to learn about the top services and ceremonies taking place in the Richmond area on this year’s Memorial Day.
1. The Commonwealth’s 66th Annual Memorial Day Ceremony
What: The ceremony will include wreath-laying, music provided by the U.S. Navy Fleet Forces Command Band and a special tribute to Gold Star Families. Virginia’s Lt. Gov. Winsome Earle-Sears will serve as this year’s keynote speaker. The ceremony will also be broadcasted live for those who are unable to attend in person. After the ceremony’s conclusion, guests are invited to stay at the Memorial for a concert by the Richmond Cadet Alumni Band and Friends, starting at 2 p.m. More information about the ceremony and concert is available here.
Location: Virginia War Memorial / 621 South Belvidere Street, Richmond, Va. 23220
Time: 11 a.m. – noon
2. Memorial Day Free Flag Exchange
What: Woody and Nelsen Funeral Homes are offering opportunities to exchange an old, torn or soiled American flag for a 3′ by 5′ new one. The old flag will be disposed of according to the U.S. Flag Code set by the The Virginia War Memorial.
Location: At your local Woody Funeral Homes or Nelsen Funeral Homes
Time: Varies according to hours of operation
3. Memorial Concert at St. James Church
What: The St. James Choirs and Orchestra will perform John Rutter’s Mass of the Children, as well as America the Beautiful, God of Our Fathers and Taps.
Location: St. James Episcopal Church / 1205 West Franklin Street, Richmond, Va. 23220
Time: Starts at 7 p.m.
4. Memorial Day 1M, 5K, 10K, 13.1, or 26.2.
What: This virtual race — a run, walk or jog anywhere that you prefer, whether it is on the street, on a treadmill, a gym or even in another race — is back for its third year. The price to participate is $18 per person and at least 15% of every entry will be donated to Operation Gratitude. For more information or to sign up, visit VirtualRunEvents.com.
Location: Anywhere participants prefer.
Time: Anytime in May, but preferably on May 30.
5. Chesterfield County Memorial Day Ceremony at Historic Courthouse Green
What: The Chesterfield Historical Society of Virginia (CHSV) will be holding a Memorial Day ceremony to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the country. Representatives of veterans organizations in Chesterfield and surrounding counties have been invited to lay wreaths along the Veterans Memorial wall in front of the courthouse. The event is free and open to the public. Call 804-350-0156 for questions or details.
Location: Chesterfield County Historic 1917 Courthouse Green / 10011 Iron Bridge Road, Chesterfield, Va. 23832
Time: Starts at 2 p.m.
6. Memorial Day at Virginia Veterans Cemetery at Amelia
What: Flags will be placed on all grave sites and the Avenue of Flags will be erected along the cemetery’s circle drive. Staff will also be available on-site to help veterans and families with locating grave sites, general information and the cemetery pre-application form. Visit the event page for details.
Location: Virginia Veterans Cemetery at Amelia / 10300 Pridesville Road, Amelia, Va. 23002
Time: Ceremony starts at 10 a.m. Staff will be on-site from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
7. Sandston Memorial Day Parade 2022
What: The parade starts on Williamsburg Road, where it intersects with Beulah Road, before proceeding west and disbanding at North Confederate Avenue. A block party featuring live music, food, activities and exhibitor booths will begin after the parade ends.
Location: Parade begins on Williamsburg Road in Sandston. The block party will take place at Sandston Recreation Area on 11 JB Finley Street, Henrico, Va. 23150.
Time: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
8. Pamplin Historical Park Memorial Day Commemoration
What: Pamplin Historical Park & The National Museum of the Civil War Soldier in Petersburg are offering a full schedule of programming for Memorial Day. All activities are included with regular admission. More information is available on the Park’s event page.
Location: 6125 Boydton Plank Road, Petersburg, Va. 23803
Time: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
9. The 8th Annual Never Forget Memorial Run at the Stuart C. Siegel Center
What: This 1.4-mile silent run is intended to remember and give thanks to those who gave their lives fighting for the country. Participants are asked to dress in white shirts for the run, which will span from VCU’s Siegel Center to The Virginia War Memorial.
Location: Stuart C. Siegel Center / 1200 West Broad St, Richmond, Va. 23284
Time: Sign-in begins at 11 a.m., the run will kick off at 12:30 p.m. For more information, head over to the event’s Facebook page.
10. The Central Virginia Mustang Club Gears Up for the National Memorial Day Parade
What: CVMC participating drivers will be getting in place at the TA Richmond Truck Stop in Ashland by 11:45 a.m. for the National Memorial Day Parade in Washington D.C., which will start promptly at 2 p.m. Viewers at home can watch the national parade on television. For more information about the CVMC event, visit their Facebook page.
Location: TA Richmond Truck Stop / 10134 Lewistown Road, Ashland, Va. 23005; The National Memorial Day Parade starts on the corner of Constitution Avenue and 7th Street, NW, in Washington D.C.
When: CVMC participants will be in place by 11:45 a.m.; the parade begins at 2 p.m.
11. Memorial Day Monday at the American Civil War Museum
What: The American Civil War Museum in Richmond is offering free admission for active-duty military servicemembers and their families. Veterans can bring a guest and get in for free as well.
Location: The American Civil War Museum, 480 Tredegar Street, Richmond, Va. 23219
Time: The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.