The National Veterans Memorial and Museum (NVMM) will host nearly three weeks of distinctive events and ceremonies designed to honor our country’s brave servicemen and women who sacrificed their lives protecting our freedoms. In addition, to ensure all people can visit and be inspired by their stories of service, the Museum will offer free admission from Sat., May 28, through Mon., May 30.
“Memorial Day is a sacred day to pay our respect to all military service members who gave the ultimate sacrifice,” said Lt. General Michael Ferriter, U.S. Army (retired), president and CEO, National Veterans Memorial and Museum. “In partnership with our sponsors, we hope the series of Memorial Day experiences will help us all to remember the lives of these brave men and women. Visiting the NVMM has become a ritual for many in our community, Veterans and the general public alike, and we hope more will adopt this special tradition, whether they visit in person or online.”
NVMM-hosted experiences throughout the month of May include:
- NVMM Memorial Virtual Run, Walk, Ruck & Roll (May 13-30): Entrants can join a family-friendly virtual race with distances of 1-mile, 5K or 10K, using RTRT GPS mobile app to track speed and distance on a universal course that incorporates downtown Columbus pathways and finishes at the NVMM.
- The Eyes of Freedom (May 18-30): A special exhibit honors the 23 fallen service members of Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, which took some of the heaviest casualties of the Iraq War. Eight panels created by artist Anita Miller share life-size portraits of the fallen service members, each with a pair of combat boots worn by the men represented. A bronze sculpture at the center, titled “Silent Battle,” shares the challenges of PTS and promotes healing for Veterans and their families.
- USAA Poppy Exhibit (May 19 – June 12): An interactive, 7-by-7-foot cube features 645,000 on-screen poppies that flow with the movement of guests’ hands. Each poppy memorializes a fallen military service member, from the eight wars fought since World War I, through brief stories, images and video.
- Resilience and Wellness Programming (May 28): Starting at 8 a.m., Veterans and the general public can learn the gentle art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from two accomplished BJJ blackbelts: U.S. Marine Corps Veteran Joey Zente, founder of Veterans Jiu Jitsu in Austin, Texas, and U.S. Navy Veteran John Cofer, from Alliance Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Lakewood, Washington. Then, at 10 a.m. on the NVMM rooftop, Clintonville CrossFit will lead the CrossFit Hero Workout “Loredo,” in honor of Staff Sergeant Edwardo Loredo, U.S. Army, who was killed in action while fighting in Afghanistan. Register for both free events.
- National Ride for Freedom (May 28, 10:00 a.m.): Hundreds of motorcycles will ride to the NVMM in honor of our heroes. The ride will commence at Farrow North Harley-Davidson (7754 E. OH-37, Sunbury, Ohio). Live music, food and beverages follow at the museum at 11:00 a.m. Register for the free event.
- Gold Star Family Candlelight Vigil (May 29, 7:30 p.m.): Families who have lost a loved one in service to our country will honor and remember their Veteran with a procession from the Rooftop Sanctuary through Memorial Grove to the Battlefield Cross monument. A short commemorative program will follow with a roll call, where each family will place a flower in remembrance of their loved one.
- Memorial Day Ceremony (May 30, 10 a.m.): Visitors can honor our country’s fallen service members on Memorial Day with the annual Remembrance Ceremony. Major General John C. Harris, Jr., U.S. Army Adjutant General, Ohio, will share remarks, and Cheryl Mason, Chairman of the Board of Veteran’s Appeals, will provide a keynote message. The event will be livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube.
Shop and Show Your Support for Veterans
- Big Lots: Now through May 31, shoppers can honor fallen Veterans and Gold Star Families by making a donation of any size to the NVMM at checkout. Customers who donate at any location nationwide will receive a coupon for $5 off a future Big Lots purchase of $15 or more.
- Homage: Throughout the month of May, a portion of proceeds from USA collection sales will be donated to the NVMM in support of Veterans. In gratitude, purchasers will receive complimentary NVMM admission.
- Shop NVMM: A new online shopping experience features a selection of merchandise from Vetrepreneur companies – military Veteran entrepreneurs who own or operate their own businesses and often employ a Veteran workforce. Shop NVMM also provides branded NVMM apparel and gift items.
Free admission is made possible through the Museum’s annual sponsors, the AEP Foundation, Association of the United States Army, Big Lots, Cardinal Health, Columbus Downtown Development Corporation and FedEx. NVMM asks that visitors donate what they’re able that weekend, online and in person, to pay it forward to honor Veterans, Gold Star Families and ensure future accessible programming for all. NVMM events are made possible in part through Memorial Day sponsors Bundy Baking Solutions, Lane Aviation and COTA.