Memorial Day—And All That Jazz

By Woody Wilson| May 20, 2014

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Next Monday is Memorial Day, a time of barbecuing, sharing a beer, seeing movies and generally celebrating the fact that it’s all possible because of those that gave the ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. It’s also recognized as the official start of three-months-of-bliss-that-we-wish-would-last-forever-but-instead-live-someplace-cold. Otherwise known as “summer”.

If you happen to live in The District, then you’re in luck because there’s lots to see and do for the holiday. In that vein, we’ve gotten a cross-section of opinions from our writers to give you some ideas on how they’re spending their upcoming free time.

Freedom Isn’t Free. At all.

This time of year, I’m reminded of one thing and one thing only: the men and women in uniform. You realize that’s why this whole thing got started, right? Three years after the Civil War on a beautiful May 30, 1868, our leaders gathered at Arlington National Cemetery to honor fallen soldiers from the Union and the Confederacy. And every year, that’s where you can find me doing the same thing – honoring the fallen.

The Arlington National Cemetery hosts a wide range of events from morning till night and it behooves you to look up the schedule of events at arlingtoncemetery.mil to get the full details. I actually like to dress up in either my Union or Confederate gear for full effect (sometimes switching hourly) just to remind myself that freedom isn’t free. It belongs to you, me and people that think like us.

Over 9 (hundred) Thousand

Thunder Rally in DCBy the time Monday rolls around I’m usually wiped out. Especially special Mondays like Memorial Day. That’s why I like to observe this holiday on Sunday. And for me there’s no better way to do that than going to the Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally. The “ride for freedom” draws about 900,000 motorcycle riders from all over the country who come to DC in honor of the day. The rally is (thankfully) held on Sunday, May 25, and is the main draw every year, though there are other Rolling Thunder events as well. I have no idea what they are but you can check out rollingthunderrun.com for the deets.

All That Jazz is All That Matters

Jazz-Concert-for-Memorial-Weekend-in-DCHave you ever been to the National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden? If you haven’t you’re missing something very special! It’s my home away from home and I spend hours just wandering around, taking in the sights and getting utterly lost in how culturally adept I am. And it only gets better for Memorial Day.

This coming Friday, May 23, the Sculpture Garden is debuting its latest series of Jazz in the Garden. Each week features a different band with different styles, with the band Elikeh kicking things off this week between 5pm and 8:30pm. Grab a blanket, pack a picnic and enjoy the show. Or if that’s not really your style, you can head on over to the Pavilion Cafe for sangria and sandwiches. Check out nga.gov for a full listing of performances and artists and how you can reserve space. See you there!

Whether its taking in a parade, a motorcycle rally or jazz concerts in the garden, the District knows how to celebrate. There is literally something for everyone.  So, be sure to check your local listings for even more things to do, but above all, enjoy yourself and have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend!

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