For over 50 years, America has been honoring its military heroes with Armed Forces Day on the third Saturday in May. Armed Forces Day is the penultimate day of Armed Forces Week and two days before Memorial Day. As you might expect, in D.C. there are lots of ways to pay tribute to the great sacrifices made by members of the U.S. military.
Visit the World War II and Vietnam Veterans Memorial
The World War II Memorial was opened in 2004 with a dedication ceremony hosted by President George W. Bush. It consists of an elegant fountain called the Rainbow Pool, flanked by 56 granite columns that represent the forty-eight states, seven U.S. territories and D.C. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial actually consists of three elements: a sculpture known as “The Three Servicemen,” the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall. The Wall is the most recognizable part of the memorial – it includes the names of over 58,000 soldiers who were either killed or went missing during the conflict.
Marine Corps Historic Half and Semper 5ive
If you’re looking for a more active way to celebrate Armed Forces Day and don’t mind traveling a bit, the Marine Corps Historic Half and Semper 5ive are being held in Fredericksburg, VA, about 50 miles south of Alexandria. Both runs will take place on Sunday, May 15 and will feature live entertainment and a subsequent Awards Ceremony.
GI Film Festival
Beginning on Armed Forces Day and ending the day before Memorial Day, the GI Film Festival is designed to honor the success and sacrifice of the military through film. There will be screenings of documentaries, short and feature films, as well as panel discussions and forums. Events will be held at the Angelika Film Center in Fairfax, Howard Theatre in D.C., and the Cannon House Office Building near the Capitol. Guests this year include Val Kilmer, Gary Sinise and Stephen Lang. While you’re honoring our men and women in uniform, you’ll need a relaxing place to stay. The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Alexandria – Fort Belvoir is located just a few miles from Fort Belvoir, Arlington National Cemetery, and the National Harbor. With great amenities like free Wi-Fi and a complimentary Express Start Breakfast Bar, there’s no better place to stay for Armed Forces Day than the Holiday Inn.