9. Head To Brooklyn For A Historic Memorial Day Parade

Memorial Day on navy boat
Brooklyn’s 154th Memorial Day Parade and Veteran Motorcade will start at 11 a.m. on 3rd Ave. and 75th St.

Across the United States, Memorial Day is celebrated with parades to commemorate the lives of our country’s fallen soldiers. One such celebration is the Brooklyn Memorial Day Parade sponsored by the United Military Veterans of Kings County. It is the oldest, continuously running Memorial Day Parades in a large U.S. city, first occurring in 1867. Originally, the parade ran along Eastern Parkway, but in 1985, it moved to Prospect Park West for a few years before arriving at its final and current location in Bay Ridge. The move was made to make the parade closer to the US Army Garrison Fort Hamilton—with this being the only active duty military installation in New York City.

There is a long history associated with Memorial Day parades in the U.S., with their historical roots being traced back to Waterloo, New York. In 1865, druggist Henry C. Welles encouraged his fellow neighbors to decorate the graves of Civil War veterans. After gaining support from then Seneca County Clerk, General John B. Murray, a committee was formed to make wreaths, crosses, and bouquets for each grave. 

From Waterloo, Memorial Day celebrations would go on to spread across the country. The holiday was officially established by General John A. Logan in 1868—though the date would later be moved from May 30th to the last Monday of May. Nowadays, a host of parades take place across the five boroughs and the surrounding areas. 

This year, the Brooklyn’s 154th Memorial Day Parade and Veteran Motorcade will start May 31, at 11:00 a.m. on 3rd Avenue and 75th Street. Vehicles will begin lining up for the motorcade from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. The wreath-laying ceremony at the VA Harbor Health Care System on Polly Place will take place later from 11:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Finally, there will be a Memorial Service in John Paul Jones Park at 1 p.m.