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What to Do: Memorial Day Weekend

Boston gathers to honor and commemorate fallen heroes

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Memorial Day, Flag Garden Boston Commons

Each Memorial Day, 37,000 American flags color the Boston Common—one in honor of each Massachusetts service member who lost his or her life in the line of duty. Photo by Flickr contributor Paul W. Locke

An estimated 36 million Americans are expected to hit the road this Memorial Day weekend—the busiest Memorial Day since the recession hit. But there are a number of events right here in Boston to commemorate the national holiday that pays tribute to the men and women who died while serving in the armed forces. We’ve put together a few selections below.

Remembering Our Heroes at the USS Constitution Museum

Commemorate the sacrifice of our nation’s veterans at the USS Constitution Museum. The museum, devoted to the War of 1812, has put together a variety of family activities throughout the weekend. Learn how to march like a 17th-century marine, how to fire cannons, how to build your own toy ship, and the art of flag folding—all designed to provide a brief history lesson about life as a marine during the War of 1812.

This summer is the last until 2018 to tour the USS Constitution, the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat, before it enters dry dock next year for restoration. It is open Memorial Day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is also at the Charlestown Navy Yard.

The USS Constitution Museum, in the Charlestown Navy Yard, Charlestown, Mass., is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; phone: 617-426-1812. Suggested donation is $5 to $10 for adults, $3 to $5 for children, and $15 to $20 for families. Remembering Our Heroes events and activities are being held Saturday, May 24, through Memorial Day Monday.

Flag Garden at the Boston Common

Each year, the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund transforms the Boston Common into a rippling sea of red, white, and blue with the help of volunteers who plant 37,000 American flags—one for each of the courageous service members from Massachusetts who have died defending our country since the Revolutionary War. The Flag Garden, at the foot of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, is on display through Memorial Day, May 26.

The Soldiers and Sailors Monument is atop Flagstaff Hill on the Boston Common.

Visit Cambridge historical landmarks like the Memorial Church and Old Burying Ground on the Fallen Heroes walking tour. Photo courtesy of Cambridge Historical Tours

Visit Cambridge historical landmarks like the Memorial Church and Old Burying Ground on the Fallen Heroes walking tour. Photo courtesy of Cambridge Historical Tours

Memorial Day, Monday, May 26

Fallen Heroes Tour

Cambridge Historical Tours honors US veterans with a one-day-only special tour celebrating some notable Americans who fought on behalf of the nation from the Revolutionary War through the World Wars. The tour makes 10 stops—among them the Cambridge Common, Memorial Church in Harvard Yard, and the Old Burying Ground.

The Fallen Heroes Tour is offered Monday, May 26, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the hour, and lasts 90 minutes. The tour is free for veterans and active duty military personnel and their families, and has a suggested donation of $5 per person or $15 per family for others. Tours begin at Cambridge Historical Tours, 1400 Massachusetts Ave., Harvard Square, Cambridge.

Honor & Tribute—Boston’s Second Annual Memorial Day Concert

Honor the country’s fallen military service members in a musical tribute hosted by Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the city of Boston’s Veterans’ Services. This sunset commemoration in Christopher Columbus Park will feature performances of patriotic music by the Metropolitan Wind Symphony and the Boston Children’s Chorus. The event is free, but reservations are required.

The Honor & Tribute concert is from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on Monday, May 26, at Christopher Columbus Park, on Boston’s waterfront, and is free, but reservations are needed and can be made here.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh will host Honor & Tribute, a free outdoor concert at Christopher Columbus Park, on Memorial Day in honor of our nation’s veterans. Photo courtesy of Boston Vets

Mayor Martin J. Walsh will host Honor & Tribute, a free outdoor concert at Christopher Columbus Park, on Memorial Day in honor of our nation’s veterans. Photo courtesy of Boston Vets

Cambridge Memorial Day Parade and Observance

The Cambridge Memorial Day Parade and Observance kicks off with a cannon salute on the Cambridge Common in Harvard Square and then proceeds through the square to Mount Auburn Street to the Cambridge Cemetery, 76 Coolidge Ave., where a Memorial Day Observance, with a rifle salute, vocal performances, and a bugler playing taps, will be held. Among those taking part in the parade are veterans groups, elected officials, police and fire personnel, color guards, bands, drill teams, and youth organizations, all gathered to commemorate the nation’s war dead.

The Cambridge Memorial Day Parade and Observance begins at the Cambridge Common at 9:30 a.m. and is expected to arrive at the Cambridge Cemetery, 76 Coolidge Ave., at 11 a.m.

Museum of Fine Arts Memorial Day Open House

Looking for something fun to do with the family on Memorial Day? Head over to the Museum of Fine Arts for its Memorial Day Open House, a free daylong event with arts activities for the whole family, including basket making and spinning tops, dance workshops, and two family movies, Mary Poppins and The Wizard of Oz. It’s also a chance to visit the museum’s superb collections, and the last chance to see the special exhibition Boston Loves Impressionism. In celebration of Memorial Day, a 55-piece US Coast Guard band will perform a selection of patriotic songs and American standards at the Huntington Avenue entrance.

The Memorial Day Open House is Monday, May 26, from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. at the Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave., Boston. Admission is free. Arts activities are scheduled throughout the day. The dance workshops are at 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Mary Poppins screens at 11 a.m. and The Wizard of Oz at 2 p.m.

Paula Sokolska can be reached at ps5642@bu.edu.

2 Comments

2 Comments on What to Do: Memorial Day Weekend

  • Don Maloney on 05.25.2014 at 11:39 pm

    I am a veteran and appreciate your open house as I look forward to visiting your museum for the first time with all the hoopla going on and all. I think it’s great.

  • Taylor Swift on 05.26.2014 at 5:43 pm

    Tots parade!!!!

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