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 twelfth 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.





The 2016 National Memorial Day Parade will be televised LIVE nationally on REELZ, around the world on the American Forces Network, on News Channel 8 in Washington, and streamed on Military.com.

Highlights of the 2016 National Memorial Day Parade

A Tribute to the World War II Generation

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

Remembering the Gulf War

On the 25th Anniversary of the Gulf War, veterans of the conflict will march to honor those who lost their lives in an effort to preserve freedom.

Honoring the Fallen of September 11, 2001

Remembering those lost on September 11, 2001, and the heroism of the first responders who sacrificed to save lives.

Special Celebrity Guests

Gary Sinise

Best known for his role as Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump and his starring role during CSI: New York’s nine-season run. His band, the Lt. Dan Band, has also played for American service members around the world.

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 2016 Betty Cantrell

A native of Warner Robins, Georgia, Betty Cantrell was crowned Miss America this past September. Her platform – Healthy Children, Strong America – encourages children to make healthy choices and stay active. She is currently a student at Mercer University.

Buzz Aldrin

Legendary astronaut and Korean War combat pilot. A graduate of West Point and retired Air Force colonel, the Apollo 11 astronaut remains active in issues related to America’s role in space exploration.

With Musical Performances by

Trent Harmon

Trent Harmon holds the reigning title as American Idol. Less than one week after taking the title during the final season of American Idol, Trent entered the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart with his single “Falling.” The 25-year-old musician is eager to begin recording his self-described “Country-soul” album.

Anthony Kearns

Anthony Kearns took the television audience by storm in 1999 as the youngest member of The Irish Tenors, with whom he has 10 CDs. Their CDs have gone Gold, Platinum and Double Platinum. Kearns has a robust international solo career, performing at charity concerts, in operas, and with the world’s finest orchestras. He has had the honor to sing for three U.S. Presidents, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Pope Francis, and most recently, at the Kennedy Center’s “Ireland 100” celebration.

John Michael Montgomery

Award-winning country music star with 18 top 10 hits and 15 number one’s, including two Billboard “Country Songs of the Year.” His hits have included “I Swear,” “Be My Baby Tonight,” “I Love the Way You Love Me,” and his tribute to veterans and members of the Armed Forces, “Letters from Home.”

Tony Orlando

One of America’s legendary entertainers and supporters of our military, his theme “Tie a Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Ole Oak Tree” reached number one in 1973, and became an anthem for hope and welcoming for veterans returning from Vietnam, the hostages from Iran, and vets of the Gulf War.

Phil Vassar

The Academy of Country Music’s Top New Male Vocalist and Billboard Country Songwriter of the Year, he has enjoyed 15 top 10 songs and 10 number one’s, with hits including “Just Another Day in Paradise”,”Six Pack Summer,” and “My Next Thirty Years.”

The New America Freedom Train Show

A moving and inspiring one-of-a-kind musical and multimedia experience, the New American Freedom Train Show celebrates the strong foundation that made America great; faith, family, military and work ethic. The new song “American Blueprint” is now available!

The USO Show Troupe

Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the USO, 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

Paul Berry

Television news anchor and radio host, Paul Berry is also a veteran of Vietnam. He currently hosts “Home and Family Finance” which airs of Radio America. He has over 40 years of experience as a broadcast journalist.

Rita Cosby

Television news anchor and correspondent, radio host, and best-selling author, Rita Cosby can currently be seen as a Special Correspondent for the CBS syndicated program “Inside Edition.” Her 2010 book, “Quiet Hero: Secrets From My Father’s Past,” shares her father’s story as a Polish resistance fighter during World War II.

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.


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.