The annual National Veterans Day Observance is scheduled for Nov. 11, at Arlington National Cemetery, to honor all veterans who served and continue to serve in the military as well as a memorial service for General of the Armies John J. Pershing.
The U.S. Army Military District of Washington will conduct a Presidential Armed Forces Full Honor Presidential Wreath-Laying Ceremony at 11 a.m. at the Tomb of the Unknowns, to be followed by an observance program hosted by the Department of Veterans Affairs in Arlington’s Memorial Amphitheater. A prelude by the U.S. Navy Band will begin in the amphitheater at 10:30 a.m.
Both the wreath-laying ceremony and the observance program are free and open to the general public. No tickets are needed to attend these events. Space is limited to standing room only for the wreath-laying ceremony and seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis in the amphitheater. Attendees are encouraged to be at the Tomb of the Unknowns or seated in the amphitheater by 9:30 a.m.
Free parking is available for vehicles in the Arlington National Cemetery Visitor’s Center parking lot from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. A free shuttle service will provide transportation to the Memorial Amphitheater beginning at 8 a.m. Walking to the amphitheater is prohibited. After the observance is over, shuttles will provide transportation back to the visitor’s center until 2 p.m.
Attendees will be required to pass through a security checkpoint to gain access to the ceremony. Prohibited items include: large bags or backpacks, firearms and weapons of any type, laser pointers, aerosol containers, soda cans, umbrellas, coolers, picnic baskets, tripods, lighters, personal protection sprays and insulated beverage containers. Clear plastic water bottles are permitted.
DOD identification card holders will not be permitted to walk from Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Va., into the cemetery. Instead, they must park on post and board a free shuttle bus at the Fort Myer Memorial Chapel. The shuttle service is scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. After the observance is over, shuttles will provide transportation back to the Fort Myer Memorial Chapel.
Also Nov. 11, the Military Order of the World Wars and Companions of Region IV will host a memorial service for General of the Armies John J. Pershing at the Pershing grave site in section 34 in Arlington National Cemetery, at 3 p.m.
The ceremony, hosted by Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, JFHQ-NCR/MDW commanding general, is free and open to the public and will include military attaches from allied nations, members of the Young Marines, and music by The U.S. Army Band “Pershing’s Own.”
Pershing was a general officer in the U.S. Army that led the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. Pershing is the only person to be promoted in his own lifetime to the highest rank ever held in the United States Army.