Here in Fredericksburg, you can participate in Memorial Day events with roots that go back as far as the origins of the holiday itself. There are experiences to be had here that are moving and powerful enough to drown out all of the chatter that goes along with modern Memorial Day events, and to put you in a mood of solemn remembrance of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice over the course of our nation’s history. There is also a spirit of celebration of the gifts that past generations have given this community. The holiday weekend can be a great opportunity to explore all of this.
Luminaria at Fredericksburg National Cemetery
The terraced hill of the cemetery, part of Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, is a stunning sight itself, but for nearly two decades, members of local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops and other volunteers have painstakingly placed luminaries on each of the more than 15,000 graves of fallen soldiers here.
The luminaria takes place on the Saturday before Memorial Day.
In 2013, Park Superintendent Lucy Lawliss had these words to describe the event’s power after the luminaria:
“It is the ordered immensity and beauty of the thousands of graves, each lit by a single candle, spread across the open unbroken plain at the summit that surprises. If your breath wasn’t taken away by the climb, a gasp accompanies this breathtaking scene.”
On Memorial Day, Civil War reenactors and many others will gather at Fredericksburg’s Riverfront Park, at the intersection of Charlotte and Sophia streets, to reenact a procession of black and white soldiers that took place in 1871. An Annual Memorial Day Procession from downtown to the cemetery takes place. The one-mile procession will end at the National Cemetery, where the National Park Service’s Memorial Day observance.
More Memorial Day Events
For details on all of the Memorial Day events in Fredericksburg, check our Memorial Day page to see the current times and locations.