America celebrates Memorial Day with parades

  • America celebrates Memorial Day on Monday with a series of events that commemorate US Army members who died in service 
  • At Fort Bragg, for the first time since 2001, no new names were added to the wall commemorating Special Operations Command members who died in service 
  • The largest parades commemorating those who gave everything will take place in Washington, DC and New York City

For the first year since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, no new names were added to the memorial wall at Fort Bragg, as the US pays tribute to the men and women who have died serving in the armed forces on Memorial Day.

Last week’s annual Gold Star Memorial Ceremony saw no new names added to the Memorial Plaza US Army Special Operations Command wall for the first time since the Global War on Terrorism began, according to a report from defense news publication Task & Purpose.

The wall holds the name of 1,242 soldiers from the Special Operations Command  who have died in combat since the command was established. 377 of those name have been added since 2001.

NEW YORK CITY: Navy sailors present the colors during a Memorial Day ceremony at the Intrepid museum in NYC on Monday
WASHINGTON, DC: David Loesch, a 101st t Airborne Veteran of the Vietnam War, searches for the names of soldiers from his unit amongst the names engraved on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial during Memorial Day
FORT BRAGG, NC: No new names were added to the Memorial Wall at Fort Bragg this year, for the first time since the Global War on Terror began in 2001

Wendall Pelham, a Gold Star father who attended the Fort Bragg ceremony in North Carolina, discussed what an utter relief it was that no families received the same visit from officers that he once did.

READ MORE: Last known survivor of Pearl Harbor’s USS Arizona recounts deadly Japanese bombing that claimed 334 American lives: ‘I consider the heroes the ones that gave their lives’

‘We’ve gotten good enough in certain areas of what we do that lives have been protected and lives have been saved, and another family doesn’t have to get a call at 4:37 on a Friday afternoon, ‘Honey, why are there two guys on my front porch in dress blue uniforms,” he said.

‘That call, as you can imagine, literally changed our lives forever. And to know that in the last year, nobody’s family got that call – that is heaven sent,’ he added.

Pelham’s own son, John Pelham, was killed in combat at just 22-year-old nearly 10 years ago. He had been serving with Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, when he was killed in Afghanistan.

The ceremony occurred days before Memorial Day weekend, a time during which US families take trips to the beach, grill, and celebrate the start of summer. Pelham said he believes Americans should enjoy the long weekend, but he urged them to set some time aside to reflect on the sacrifices made by those whom the holiday honors.

‘Memorial Day is for those who gave their full measure, those who gave their last and final sacrifice to this country,’ he said. ‘Americans need to know that there are people in this country willing to do that.’

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA: Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin visits Section 60 of Arlington Nation Cemetery on Memorial Day
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA: Ching Wagoner visits her son’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day. Her late son – Aiden Flores Wagoner – was a member of the air force
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA:  US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley attends the wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery
NEW YORK CITY:  Navy sailors stand and salute on the Intrepid in New York on Memorial Day
FORT BRAGG: Gold Star families visit the Memorial Wall at Fort Bragg in the days before Memorial Day weekend
HINSDALE, NEW HAMPSHIRE:  Raelynn Palmer, 3, waves an American flag during the annual Hinsdale Memorial Day Parade
SYRACUSE, NEW YORK: A volunteer helps light the Memorial Day Watchfire in Syracuse, New York. The fire is lit in memory of the fires that were lit following battles to help guide lost soldiers back to camp
NEW YORK CITY: US Navy sailors walk in their colors during the Intrepid Museum’s Memorial Day ceremony in NYC
FORT BRAGG, NORTH CAROLINA: A ceremony at Fort Bragg commemorating the fallen members of the US Army Special Operations Command. For the first time since 9/11/2001, no new names were added to the memorial wall
WASHINGTON, DC: Gary Bush, a Navy Veteran, poses for a portrait in the Veteran’s Kiosk where he has volunteered for over 20 years
WASHINGTON, DC: House Speaker Kevin McCarthy arrived at his office on Capitol Hill Monday, as debt ceiling negotiations stretch into Memorial Day
NEW YORK CITY: Mayor Eric Adams at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum’s annual Memorial Day Commemoration Ceremony

Across the United States on Monday, parades and flag planting efforts will take place to honor the men and women who gave everything to defend the nation.

According to US Veterans Magazine, the Ironton-Lawrence Memorial Day parade held in Ironton, Ohio is ‘recognized as the oldest continuously running Memorial Day parade in the nation, beginning all the way back in 1868.’ 

The outlet added that the ‘oldest (and first) Memorial Day parade in the country was held a year earlier in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.’

However, the Doylestown Post claims its parade is not the first, but is the oldest continuously running parade. It goes on to claim that the parade in Rochester, Wisconsin predates the Doylestown parade by one year.

The largest Memorial Day parade is held in Washington, DC, though the Little Neck-Douglaston parade in Queens, New York rivals its size. 

In Washington on Monday, President Joe Biden addressed the nation, lauding the sacrifice of the generations of military members who have died fighting for their country.

His remarks came following the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

Biden was joined by First Lady Jill Biden, as well as Vice President Kamal Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff for the 155th National Memorial Day Observance.

In his address, Biden said ‘we must never forget the price that was paid to protect our democracy.’

‘We must never forget the lives these flags, flowers and marble markets represent.’

PITTSFIELD, MASS. Veterans salute as the color guard retire the flags during Memorial Day exercised at the Pittsfield Cemetery in Massachusetts on Monday
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK:  US sailors and Marines march during the 156th Brooklyn’s Memorial Day Parade
WASHINGTON, DC: National Memorial Day concert beside the US Capitol on May 28, 2023
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA: People walk among the headstones of Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day
HINSDALE, NEW HAMPSHIRE: A group of bikers participate in the Hinsdale Memorial Day Parade down Main Street
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA: Seven-year-old Raphael Michel visits the grave a soldier his father served with on Memorial Day
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks with families as he visits Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA: A family places roses at the final resting place of fallen service members in Arlington National Cemetery
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA: Krista Meinert touches the headstone of her son, US Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Jacob Alexander Meinert on Memorial Day
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA: Steven Cummings, with his mother Thelma Cummings, visits the grave of his father U.S. Army Col. Ezra Cummings Jr.
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA: Vadim Gunyan visits the grave of US Army Sgt. John Linde, with whom he served
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK: People fill the beach at Coney Island during a windy Memorial Day in New York City
NEW YORK CITY: City-dwellers get some sun on Memorial Day in New York City
NEW YORK CITY:  A pair watch boats zip by on the East River in NYC on Memorial Day

Before the ceremony at Arlington, the first couple hosted a breakfast at the White House for members of veterans organizations, military service and military family organizations, Gold Star families, and senior Defense Department officials.

Following the late-morning address, the Bidens are scheduled to return to their Wilmington, Delaware home, where they will spend the rest of the federal holiday. 

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