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The National Museum of the U.S. Army will be open to the public for Memorial Day for the first time (courtesy NMUSA/Flickr)

As a holiday, Memorial Day is a bit of a contradiction.

Coming on Monday (May 30), the actual day is a somber occasion, tracing its origins back to the post-Civil War era as a way to honor military service members killed in war. With the weather heating up and schools winding down, however, Memorial Day has long also been treated as an unofficial kick-off for summer.

After a couple of more subdued years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Memorial Day 2022 will have plenty to offer Fairfax County residents, whether you plan to spend the weekend commemorating a loved one or are just itching to relax and eat some barbecue.

The National Army Museum

The National Museum of the U.S. Army will be open to the public for Memorial Day weekend for the first time since it launched at Fort Belvoir on Veteran’s Day in 2020.

In addition to holding a remembrance at 10 a.m. and a moment of silence at 3 p.m. on Monday, the museum has a full slate of activities planned throughout the weekend:

  • Poppy Paper Flower-Making: Craft red poppies out of paper for a special Memorial Day display, and learn how the flower came to symbolize remembrance for fallen service members
  • Operation Safe Passage: A role-playing experience where players train to provide a humanitarian response to a simulated earthquake. 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Normally reserved for groups, the activity will be open to children 7 and older with an adult. Advance registration is required.
  • Hands-On History: Explore Army equipment and uniforms from different eras between 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. each day.
  • “Sunken Roads: Three Generations After D-Day”: Screenings of the documentary about World War II veterans who return to Normandy for the 70th anniversary of D-Day will be followed by Q&A sessions with filmmaker Charlotte Juergens. Registration required.
  • The Army Historical Foundation Book Sale: New and used military books will be on sale Friday through Sunday (May 27-29) from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Viva! Vienna!

After slimming down last year, the Town of Vienna’s annual Memorial Day weekend festival returns bigger than ever with the addition of a Backstage Brewfest.

A charity event organized by the Rotary Club of Vienna, Viva Vienna will unfold in its familiar location along Church Street, which will be closed to traffic between Lawyers Road and Mill Street on Sunday and Monday. Read More

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