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Memorial Day Weekend Events in Baltimore

Saturday, May 26—Monday, May 28 2012

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Visitors walking up to headstones at Mount Auburn Cemetery.
Lou Jones/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images
This year, Memorial Day falls on Monday, May 28. Although the holiday is often thought of as the unofficial start to summer, the true meaning of the national holiday is to honor those who have served in the United States Armed Forces. Whether you plan to get together with your family and friends at home or participate in one of the events below, make the most out of the long weekend.

Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens
Monday, May 28 at 10 p.m.
Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens will hold a public ceremony honoring members of the military with substantial ties to Maryland who have been killed while serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. In addition to honoring those fighting current battles, the ceremony will also pay tribute to those who gave their lives in Korea, Vietnam and World War II. Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Maryland and Vietnam War veteran Edward Chow, Jr. will be the keynote speaker at the ceremony, which will also include memorial addresses from Congressman C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersburger and Brigadier General Allyson Solomon, Maryland's senior Air National Guard Officer. The 229th Maryland Army National Guard Band and color guard units from the Maryland National Guard, the Patriot Guard Riders, and the Elkridge Young Marines will also be at the ceremony. The ceremony is held in Dulaney Valley's Circle of Immortals, an area dedicated in 1967 and reserved for Marylanders killed in action. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

Fort McHenry National Monument
Saturday, May 26-Monday, May 28
Fort McHenry will be observing Memorial Day all weekend with living history, flag programs, musical performances, and Ranger talks. The National Park has also put together a special Junior Ranger sheet about the meaning of Memorial Day to help young people understand the true meaning. In the visitor center, a video about the history of Memorial Day and special display focusing on the Civil War origins of the holiday will be on exhibit.

On May 28 at 11 a.m. there will be a special reading of popular Memorial Day poems followed by a brief discussion of Memorial Day traditions before the flag will be hoisted to full mast at noon. Afterward, there will be a living history presentation that recreates a traditional speech and ceremony given in the fort during the 1880s. The highlight, however, is a parkwide National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m.

Besides the special programming at Fort McHenry, some special programming is taking place offsite at three local cemeteries:
  • Saturday, May 26, 2 p.m. at Old Saint Paul's (Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and W. Lombard St.): This living history tour takes visitors to the final resting places of Major George Armistead, commander of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, and General Lewis Armistead of Civil War fame, among others. The ceremony will also include a musket-firing salute and wreath laying.
  • Sunday, May 27, 2 p.m. at Mount Auburn Cemetery (2630 Waterview Ave.): Honor African-American veterans at Baltimore's oldest African-American cemetery, where those who served in the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and the Korean War are buried. Ceremony will involve a parade, historic speeches, grave decorating, and a community picnic.
  • Monday, May 28, 9 p.m. at Loudon Park National Cemetary (3445 Frederick Rd.): Loudon Park National Cemetery contains thousands of Union Soldiers' graves from the Civil War, including hundreds of African-American Union soldiers. Once the center of Memorial Day commemorations in Baltimore, this year an early Memorial Day service will take place.
Divided Voices: Maryland in the Civil War
Through April 30, 2015
Another way to honor those who have served is to learn about their history. Currently, the Maryland Historical Society in Mount Vernon is hosting the largest Civil War exhibit in Maryland, which includes videos, period costumed storytellers, reenactments, and more. The exhibition occupies more than 5,000 square feet and tells the story of tragedy in three acts: the romantic war, the real war, and the long reunion.

Memorial Day Jazz Orchestra
Saturday, May 26, 7:30 p.m.
The Creative Alliance at the Patterson will host two amazing jazz performers on the Saturday that falls over Memorial Day weekend. Acclaimed reed player Bennie Maupin -- who has performed with Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and others -- will join composer and bass clarinetist Todd Marcus, a Baltimore-based musician who is a rising star across the country. Tickets are $22 at regular price or $17 for members, seniors, and students.

Brew at the Zoo
Saturday, May 26-Sunday, May 27
Over Memorial Day weekend, there are also some charitable events happening. Sample more than 50 beers--including those made in Maryland and other craft brews--and enjoy music from sixe live bands at the annual Brew at the Zoo event at the Maryland Zoo. Kids are welcome to tag along, too, and hang out in the KidZone. Tickets are $45 for 21 and over or $25 for youth and designated drivers, with $10 discounts available for Zoo members.

Sowebo Arts and Music Festival
Sunday, May 27
Every Memorial Day weekend, the 1100 block of Hollins Street near the historic Hollins Market turns into a festival combining food, drink, music and art. For those who are curious, Sowebo stands for "SOuthWestBaltimore." Admission is free.

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