Memorial Day is a national holiday across the USA dedicated to those who have died fighting in wars. It is a day of remembrance and respect for the men and women who gave their lives fighting for their country. Traditional customs include a moment of remembrance at 3pm and flying the United States flag at half-mast from dawn until noon.
Memorial Day is also a time of celebration, and as such there are many festivities taking place around the country. Major cities hold big parades and there are also many smaller, localised ones. The biggest is held in Washington, and is recognised as the USA's national parade which draws as many as 300,000 spectators. Each year, the parade spotlights one arm of the military, such as the army, air force, navy, marine corps etc. The parade is a grand affair with thousands of participants ranging from soldiers past and present, marching bands, veterans groups and many celebrities.
Other celebrations include the Memorial Day Day Concert in the grounds of the west lawn of the US Capitol. The concert has been a tradition for over 20 years and is hosted by celebrities who have dedicated themselves to veteran's causes and active service. The entertainment lineup includes dignitaries, actors, musicians and bands.
The Indianapolis 500 motorcar race - one of the three most significant motorsport events in the world, is also traditionally held on Memorial Day. The race sees crowds of up to 400,000 people and there are plenty of camping facilities available at the grounds. The race is a mammoth event with plenty of off-track entertainment that gives the race a mardi gras atmosphere for the whole weekend. There are plenty of parties, concerts and tailgating parties. Downtown Indianapolis itself also has a host of themed parties and events at local clubs and bars around the city.
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