The National Memorial Day Parade, held annually along Constitution Avenue in our nation’s capital – Washington, DC – shares the story of American honor and sacrifice from across the generations. The parade, commemorating its thirteenth year, is our nation’s largest Memorial Day event, drawing hundreds of thousands of spectators to the National Mall to pay tribute to those who have served, are serving, and most importantly those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while in service to our country.

The National Memorial Day Parade is a moving timeline of American military history, honoring those who have served and sacrificed from the American Revolution to the present day. It draws on the tradition of Memorial Day parades, going back to the beginning of the holiday just after the Civil War, to create a family friendly event aimed at calling attention to the true meaning of Memorial Day – honoring our fallen heroes.




Highlights of the 2017 National Memorial Day Parade

Grand Marshals

Ken Burns

Acclaimed filmmaker and recipient of fifteen Emmy Awards, two Grammy Awards, two Oscar nominations. Telling the stories of American history, his films include The Civil War, The War, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ War, among many others. His newest film with longtime partner Lynn Novick, The Vietnam War, will air on PBS in September 2017.

Lynn Novick

Emmy and Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker with nearly 30 years experience producing and directing films on American history and culture, including Prohibition, Baseball, Jazz, Frank Lloyd Wright and The War, a seven part exploration of ordinary Americans’ experiences in World War II. Upcoming films include a ten part, eighteen hour series, The Vietnam War and a biography of Ernest Hemingway.

General Richard Myers, USAF (Ret.)

15th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, culminating a 40-plus year Air Force career which began as a combat pilot in The Vietnam War. In commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the United States Air Force.

A Tribute to the World War II Generation

Commemorating the 75th anniversary of World War II, dozens of surviving veterans will serve as Honorary Grand Marshals, representing the 16 million who served and more than 400,000 who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Special Celebrity Guests

Joe Mantegna

Tony Award-winning actor of stage, screen, and television, currently starring in the CBS series Criminal Minds.

Robert Irvine

Chef Robert Irvine has appeared in several Food Network programs including Restaurant: Impossible, helping to save struggling restaurants across America. He began his cooking career upon enlisting in the Royal Navy, cooking around the world and on the high seas. He has more than 25 years of culinary experience.

Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields

Crowned Miss America 2017 last September, Savvy travels the country and the world speaking to audiences and serving as a role model to young women. Among her travels are USO visits and a Thanksgiving tour abroad to visit and thank our troops. She is currently a senior at the University of Arkansans, with plans to become a practicing artist and museum curator.

With Musical Performances by


Grammy-nominated rock stars with four albums all reaching Billboard’s Top Ten with combined sales of over eight million copies. Led by frontman Chris Daughtry, who rose to prominence on Season 5 of American Idol, Daughtry’s self-titled debut was the best-selling album of 2007. The band is currently starting work on their fifth album together.

John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting

Five For Fighting’s breakthrough came in 2001 with the Grammy-nominated song “Superman,” and his performance at The Concert for New York. John Ondrasik has also been deeply involved in philanthropic efforts, distributing over a million “CD for the Troops” to servicemen and their families around the world.

Tom Dixon

Nashville recording artist with three solo albums to his credit, including last year’s “Songwriter Unplugged.” His new single, “Alive Day,” will premiere at this year’s parade, with all proceeds going to support The Coalition to Salute America’s Heroes.

The USO Show Troupe

The Show Troupe traces its beginnings to the muddy camp shows of the South Pacific in World War II. Today, the USO Show Troupe continues that tradition, performing some 350 shows annually to more than 600,000 military personnel and their families.

Television Broadcast Hosted by

Johnathan Elias

Anchor and reporter with ABC7/WJLA-TV in Washington, DC. Previously, with WBZ in Boston his coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings earned him a Peabody, DuPont, and National Emmy Award. In addition to his work as a journalist Jonathan has served as an Honorary Commander at Hanscom Air Force Base, and for nearly a decade has served as an instructor at the U.S. Army War College.

Rita Cosby

Emmy-winning television news anchor, radio host, and best-selling author, Rita Cosby is currently a Special Correspondent for the CBS syndicated program “Inside Edition.” She is also Host and Political Editor of WABC Radio, the most listened to talk station in America. Her latest book, “Quiet Hero: Secrets From My Father’s Past,” shares her father’s story as a Polish resistance fighter during World War II, who became a Nazi POW, ultimately saved by US troops. Having spoken at the United Nations, Capitol Hill and the Pentagon, her critically acclaimed memoir has become required reading at major US universities and used as a centerpiece for discussions on those dealing with Post Traumatic Stress and their families.

Kirsten Haglund

Miss America 2008, Kirsten is a graduate of Emory University and is a frequent television commentator on politics and women’s issues on cable news outlets. She is Community Relations Specialist for Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center and Founder & President of the Kirsten Haglund Foundation, which works with women suffering from eating disorders and body image issues.

A Special Thanks to Our Sponsors

The National Memorial Day Parade was created to call attention to the true meaning of the holiday – honoring our fallen heroes.  Each year, throughout its television broadcast, the parade features personal stories of men and women who lost their lives in service to America – a reminder of the price of our freedom.