Every year in May, we celebrate Memorial Day to honor the men and women who died while actively serving in the United States Armed Forces. It is important to remember our fallen heroes and pay tribute to them on this special day (yes, it’s more than just a three-day weekend!).

Most people will get a day off for this federal holiday, which many consider the unofficial beginning of summer. Why not use that extra time to bond with your family on a quick vacation, while showing respect for the true meaning of Memorial Day?

Washington, DC.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a more patriotic place in the country on Memorial Day than Washington, DC. In addition to the National Memorial Day Parade at the National Mall and special military ceremonies in the metropolitan area, there will be events, including the laying of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, at the Arlington National Cemetery. Don’t miss the National Memorial Day Concert on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Of course, visitors can also enjoy all of the amazing monuments DC has to offer.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

This year, Gettysburg will host their 147th Annual Memorial Day Parade and the Grand Marshall will be Major General Anthony Cucolo, who will also be the keynote speaker at the Memorial Day Ceremony at the Rostrum in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery.  The incredibly historic area includes the Gettysburg Battlefield, Gettysburg National Military Park and the Gettysburg Museum and Visitor’s Center.

Colonial Williamsburg

Williamsburg was founded in 1632 and served as the capital of the Colony of Virginia from 1699-1780. This historic area, along with Jamestown and Yorktown (conveniently located nearby), forms the Historic Triangle. Williamsburg was the center of political events leading up to the American Revolution and, as such, Memorial Day is observed with a modern service honoring veterans who died serving their country. A procession takes place with Fife and Drum support and will move from the Palace to Bruton Parish Church and the French gravesite. The soldiers who died in the American Revolution and Civil War are honored with wreaths, prayers and volleys, which are fired at each stop.

We largely focus on the fact that we get a three-day weekend but, this year, try to make time to remember what Memorial Day really means. Miltary.com has a great list of discounts and events for military personnel and their family. Take the time to pay respects to those who fought, and continue to fight, valiantly for their country.