How Columbus and its suburbs will celebrate Memorial Day in 2023
Events range from parades to picnics
Memorial Day, the last Monday in May, honors those in the military who died in service to the nation. The day is marked by parades, processions and solemn tributes at cemeteries. It's also considered the unofficial start to summer, with picnics, cookouts and walks in the park.
Declared a national holiday in 1971, Memorial Day can be traced back to local observances for Confederate soldiers with neglected gravesites during the Civil War. Until World War I, Civil War soldiers were solely honored on this holiday. Now, all Americans who have served are observed.
Related:When is Memorial Day 2023 and why do we celebrate?
Here's a look at celebrations in Columbus:
National Veterans Memorial and Museum
- CrossFit workout: Workout warriors looking to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice can complete “The Murph” on the museum’s rooftop. The workout, named after the late Medal of Honor recipient and Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy, consists of two one-mile runs, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups and 300 squats. The $25 ticket fee covers free parking, museum admission and a T-shirt. Participants can take on the challenge at 8, 9 or 10 a.m.
- Motorcycle ride: Bike owners can take a trek for a cause at 9 a.m. Saturday. This police-escorted ride starts at Farrow North Harley-Davidson, an event partner, and concludes at the museum. The $25 ticket fee covers free parking, museum admission and a T-shirt.
- Jiu-jitsu seminar: Those with an appreciation for the art of physical combat can learn Brazilian jiu-jitsu basics from Dustin Ware, an Ohio High School Athletic Association sport administrator who holds a third-degree black belt in jiu-jitsu. The seminar is at 9 a.m. on Sunday at the museum. Participation is free for beginners and experts alike, but registration is required.
- Hybrid 5K: The annual “Run, Walk, Ruck and Roll” will start at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday. Runners (and walkers, ruckers and rollers) can complete the trek in-person, starting at the museum, or opt to do it virtually. Registration, which includes two museum tickets, a free beer, a race challenge coin and a T-shirt, is $50.
- Candlelight vigil: Those who lost family members will be honored at this event, which starts on the museum rooftop Sunday at 8 p.m. Maj. Gen. Sharon Bannister, an Air Force veteran and daughter of a Gold Star recipient, will speak to attendees. A registration questionnaire is available on the museum’s website.
- Remembrance ceremony: Gen. Michael Garrett, a decorated Army veteran who spent 37 years in command of combat operation units, will speak on the museum rooftop at 10 a.m. on Monday. Registration is free and includes museum admission for the day.
- People can register for all events at nationalvmm.org/memorial-day-2023.
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Green Lawn Cemetery
- The Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War will hold a free public Civil War Veteran Remembrance service at 11 am. Saturday in Green Lawn Cemetery’s Huntington Chapel.
- The cemetery will host an open house and tours from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Monday, which will include a cookout and picnic lunch in front of the Huntington Chapel, all free of charge. Nearby Green Lawn Abbey will also be open for free entry and tours from 12-4 p.m.
In addition, here are a few of the larger Memorial Day observances across the Columbus suburbs. All events are on Monday, unless noted:
A ceremony begins at 11 a.m. with a procession through historic Dublin beginning on Dale Drive with a wreath-throwing ceremony at the Bridge Street bridge and ending at Dublin Cemetery, 83 W. Bridge St. At 11:30 a.m., a Memorial Day ceremony is planned at the Dublin Cemetery. A free community picnic luncheon follows at Monterey Park at noon. Lt. Col. Bonnie Gamary, a retired member of the Ohio Air National Guard, is the keynote speaker.
State Route 161/Bridge Street will be closed intermittently to traffic from 10:50 a.m. to noon between Dale Drive and Monterey Drive.
A parade is scheduled for Saturday at 10 a.m., stepping off from First Avenue and Cambridge Boulevard, ending at Oxley Road.
A parade steps off at 11 a.m. from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, 3730 Broadway, and continues down Broadway, with a short ceremony at City Hall. The parade ends at Grove City Cemetery for a service, followed by the American Legion Post 164 hosting an open house, 3363 McDowell Road, for the remainder of the day. The event includes food and beverages.
A parade will step off at 1:30 p.m. at Groveport Town Hall, 648 Main St., concluding at Groveport Cemetery with a ceremony displaying 12 banners that honor active duty military personnel or veterans from Groveport. Sean McCarthy, assistant director of the Ohio Department of Veterans Services, will serve as guest speaker.
The parade begins at 10 a.m. on Grace Drive and proceeds west. A ceremony will be held at the Greater Powell Veterans Memorial in Village Green Park.
The annual Field of Heroes event will be held from Friday to Monday, sponsored by the Sunrise Rotary Club of Westerville. The event is marked by 3,000 American flags displayed 24 hours a day and lit each night at the Westerville Sports Complex, 325 Cleveland Ave. A variety of events, including bagpipes, concerts and family activities, take place each day.
Worthington holds one of the area's largest parades, this year beginning at 10 a.m. at Dublin-Granville Road and Morning Street, typically with a military flyover. The parade route is south on High Street to Cemetery Drive, with a service following at Walnut Grove Cemetery, 5561 Milton Ave., where more than 1,300 veterans are buried. At 6 a.m., there will be a 21-gun salute and playing of taps at Flint Cemetery, 8187 Flint Road, where more than 100 veterans are buried.