5 Virtual Events to Celebrate Memorial Day 2020

Memorials, parades, and ceremonies are off the table, but virtual events are still readily available
Woman ties ribbon to Lakewood Cemetery's Living Memory Tree, a tradition also available on Memorial Day
The Living Memory Tree at Lakewood Cemetery allows visitors to write about someone they’ve lost on a ribbon and then tie it to the tree. This expression of love and remembrance is open to the public and especially during Memorial Day weekend.

Photo courtesy Bre McGree

Memorial Day is yet another holiday that we will celebrate differently this year. Perhaps your yearly tradition is to visit a cemetery or attend a memorial event. Or maybe you attend a parade, a concert, or some other fun event that signifies the unofficial beginning of summer. We may not have in-person Memorial Day events this year, but it is still possible to honor those military personnel who have lost their lives serving our country. Gather your family together this Memorial Day weekend and honor those men and women with one of these virtual events.

Memorial Day at Lakewood Cemetery

Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis will be open to the public during Memorial Day weekend, but its annual ceremony will be pre-recorded and posted to its website. If you visit the cemetery, consider honoring someone you’ve lost by adding a ribbon to the Living Memory Tree. The pre-recorded ceremony will be available to watch on Lakewood’s website on Saturday, May 23, at noon.

National Memorial Day Concert on PBS

For the first time in 31 years, the award-winning National Memorial Day Concert will be held virtually. The broadcasted concert—hosted by Tony Award-winner Joe Mantegna and Emmy Award-winner Gary Sinise—features musical performances, documentary footage, and readings to honor those who have served our country. This year, the concert will also pay tribute to the men and women who are doing so much for us in the current fight against COVID-19. You can view the entire concert lineup here and watch it on PBS at 7 p.m. on Sunday, May 24. (The live event will also be streamed on PBS.org, YouTube, and Facebook.) 

Ancestry’s Memorial Day Parade of Heroes

To help people commemorate from home, Ancestry is holding a virtual Memorial Day – Parade of Heroes on Facebook. Hosted by Kathie Lee Gifford, this event will memorialize the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. It will also feature musical performances by Tori Kelly and others. To honor a veteran, Ancestry encourages you to share a post on Instagram or Facebook, tag Ancestry in the photo, and then add #RememberAtHome for a chance to have your story featured on social media. You can watch live on Facebook on Monday, May 25, at 10 a.m.

Never Forget Memorial Day Concert by Luke Spehar

Originally planned for Mears Park in St. Paul, Luke Spehar’s Never Forget Memorial Day Concert will be streamed live on his website instead. The event is free, and any donations will be given to local military nonprofits, including Acres for Life Therapy and Wellness Center and Every Third Saturday. You can watch live on lukespehar.com on Monday, May 25, at 2 p.m.

Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs’ Memorial Day Program

In place of the live events at Minnesota’s state veterans cemeteries, the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs (MDVA) will hold a virtual Memorial Day program instead. MDVA has partnered with Twin Cities PBS-TPT to create the 30-minute program titled “Always Remember: A Minnesota Tribute to Veterans We’ve Lost.” The program will include remarks from Gov. Tim Walz and Commissioner Larry Herke, personal stories about those we’ve lost, and a traditional rifle salute. You can watch on TPT’s Minnesota channel at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, May 25.

Looking for other family-friendly activities this weekend? Consider:

Visiting Minneapolis Farmers Markets for Plants, Flowers, and More
Cooking with Your Kids: Fresh Pasta + Mac ‘n’ Cheese Bites
Going to a Less-Crowded Park in Minnesota
Attending a Movie Night at a Minnesota Drive-In Theater
Grabbing Takeout from a Local Restaurant