This national holiday was originally known as Decoration Day, put in place in 1868 to commemorate the fallen soldiers of the Civil War. The name was changed to Memorial Day in 1882 to extend remembrance to all those who served our country. As we cannot fully appreciate our current freedoms without paying respect to the men and women who gave their lives to maintain these freedoms — and continue to do so even today — Baltimore is set to hold events throughout the weekend to honor all U.S. soldiers. Take the time to attend and remember these heroes.

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fort mchenry

Fort McHenry
2400 E. Fort Ave.
Baltimore, Md. 21230
(410) 962-4290

Date: Monday, May 27

Head over to Locust Point for the yearly Memorial Day celebrations at Fort McHenry, the site that inspired the Star-Spangled Banner during the War of 1812. The day begins at 9:30 a.m., when park rangers raise the American flag to half-staff and discuss the origins of the holiday. Celebrations continue at 11 a.m. with the reading of Memorial Day poems and the flag is then hoisted all the way at noon. You don’t want to miss the 2:30 recreation of 1880 observances, including Oliver Wendell Holmes’ historic speech. Finally the day wraps at 3 p.m. when a bugler plays “Taps” and is followed by the laying of wreaths.

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Photo by Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

Photo by Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images

National Memorial Day Parade
Constitution Ave. NW
Washington D.C. 20408
(703) 302-1012 ext. 227

Date: May 27 2013 at 2 p.m.

This yearly mile-long parade, presented by the American Veterans Center since 2005, has brought focus back to the real reason for the holiday; it is not just another day off of work but is a time to honor the fallen. The parade begins at 7th Street along Constitution Avenue, passing by the White House and ending on 17th Street. Thousands attend to see the marching bands, floats and, most importantly, active and retired military.

(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

Loudon Park National Cemetery
3445 Frederick Ave.
Baltimore, Md. 21229
(410) 945-8510

Date: May 27, 2013 at 9 a.m.

The expansive park of Loudon National Cemetery is where thousands of Union Soldiers were laid to rest. Not only are four Medal of Honor recipients buried here but, thanks to the result of the Civil War, hundreds of U.S. Colored Troops could rest in peace side by side with their fellow compatriots. Rangers from Fort McHenry will join 29th Division veterans from World War II, Korea and Vietnam for a Memorial Day service. There will be music, a musket salute and wreath-laying.

memorial day

Mount Auburn Cemetery
2620 Waterview Ave.
Baltimore, Md. 21230
(410) 962-4290

Date: May 26, 2013 at 2 p.m.

The oldest African-American cemetery in Baltimore is also set to host Memorial Day ceremonies. The Fort McHenry Rangers make another appearance at Mount Auburn Cemetery along with Fife and Drum Corps to lead a short parade, honoring veterans from the Civil War, World Wars I and II and the Korean War. Speeches, grave decorating with flowers and flags and a community picnic bring together those who wish to honor the fallen.

Memorial Day

Arlington National Cemetery
1 Memorial Drive
Arlington, Va. 22202
(877) 907-8585

Date: May 27, 2013; 11 a.m.

Millions from all over the world visit this cemetery that is the final resting place for more than 14,000 U.S. veterans. Only an hour drive from Baltimore, this sacred ground is the perfect place to celebrate Memorial Day. Ceremonies begin at 11 a.m. at the Memorial Amphitheater. Wreath-laying and a concert are performed at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Additional military honors including a keynote address and scattering of rose petals for fallen soldiers are held at 4 p.m. at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial. Service members from U.S. Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy take part in placing the American flag on more than 250,000 graves.

Pam Smith graduated from Penn State with a B.A. in English and a passion for writing. Her adaptive nature led her to work in the scientific, energy suppl, and business industries while writing on a multitude of topics for various online media. Pam currently resides in Baltimore County. Her work can be found at