View Full Version : Memorial Day in the Nation's Capital 2007

11-07-2006, 08:21 AM
General Orders No.11, WASHINGTON, D.C., May 5, 1868

The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit…
By order of

National Memorial Day Parade
May 28, 2007

On Monday, May 28, 2007, Federal reenactors will continue the tradition begun on that day in 1868, when they muster in Washington, D.C., the nation’s capital, to join more than 4,000 other participants in the National Memorial Day Parade.

Last year, approximately 100,000 people lined the National Mall to watch the two-hour parade, which featured more than 150 bands, military units, youth groups, and parade floats, as well as hundreds of veterans of World War I and II, Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm. The parade was led by more 600 servicemen and women recently returned from Iraq and Afghanistan.

This year, instead of a small company, we will field a full battalion of Federals, including music, to take its place in this very worthy event. All we need to make this happen is you and your pards.

We know a lot of units already have their own Memorial Day plans, and that many of you are committed to take part in special ceremonies on this day. We encourage you to keep your commitments. If, however, if you have no other plans we invite you to join us for an event you will long remember. Come to the nation’s capital and help us honor those who served and died in our nation’s wars.

Contact Doug Dobbs at
717-816-2941 or doug@dougdobbs.com
For additional information and registration

(After Remembrance Day, check our Website: www.dougdobbs.com/dc2007)

11-25-2006, 09:44 PM
The web page is now up. I might hear from the parade organizers in the early spring with some changes, but in general we know where we are supposed to be and when and how we need to prepare ourselves.

The only big issue yet to be nailed down will have to do with horse certification issues for the cavalry.

There are several links at the bottom of the page that might be useful to see what it was like last year. Everyone who's come has been amazed at the turnout and how this event grows from year to year. If you have no standing commitments, please consider coming with us in 2007!


aka Stickbug

11-26-2006, 07:08 AM
There is real interest in the CVG of participating.


11-27-2006, 10:55 AM
Chris --

That is great. I hope a lot of people who have no other plans for that day consider joining us.

B.C. Milligan
Company K, First Penna. Reserves

12-24-2006, 09:17 AM
So I don't think of this as self-serving -- rather serving the memory of those who made the supreme sacrifice. Look for our upcoming ad in the Civil War News, and we are still not only actively seeking people to join us, we could really use some music. So far, we have had little success in that area.

Don't make me ask the bagpiper!

B.C. Milligan
Company K, First Penna. Reserves

01-16-2007, 03:40 PM
Not self-serving -- serving the memory of those who served then, and who serve now.

It is now 2007. We hope anyone interested in joining us for this event will get in touch with Doug Dobbs sometime in the next month or two, so we can begin to estimate numbers.

Thank you.

B.C. Milligan
Company K, First Penna. Reserves

03-03-2007, 04:01 PM
We are still looking for Federals who can spare a day for an event they will not soon forget. See my earlier post for our Website.

B.C. Milligan

04-07-2007, 07:36 AM
As B.C. says, we still have room at this time for those who would like to join us.

I will be getting final information in the mail two weeks ahead of the event, so I will be mailing out parking passes as soon after that as possible. If you want to come, make sure you get ahold of myself or B.C. sooner rather than later since "close in" parking is going to be restricted.

We'd love to have you share in this amazing event.

www.dougdobbs.com/dc2007 (http://www.dougdobbs.com/dc2007)

04-08-2007, 12:30 PM
If anyone knows how to reach Jari Villeneuve, I have tried to email and PM him, to no avail. I am hoping since the Federal City Brass Band is sort of local, some of them might be interested. I know of no better way to spend Memorial Day than in this fashion, and hope anyone else who is not already marching elsewhere or taking part in a ceremony will decide to join us.

B.C. Milligan
Company K, First Penna. Reserves

04-09-2007, 07:19 AM

Our band email is



04-12-2007, 07:32 PM

The organizers of the event today notified me that they are moving the parade time to 2PM. Last year was 12 noon.

The reason for the change is a desire to accomodate those who participate at the ceremonies in Arlington, so they can get across town in an orderly fashion. I don't think this will pose a serious problem for most of us, indeed it makes it more feasible for those coming some distance to drive in that morning and be home that night.

I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that we would only need to be "on the line" two hours in advance of step off. Since the step off time has changed, I assume we'd need to be there by noon, not 10AM. This will mean waiting around in the heat before we march, however. I will be there early to secure us some shade, but please bring extra water. There will be porta pots on site. Who knows, maybe we can pitch some shebangs on the Mall and boil some coffee... :)

The response of many of you to this opportunity has been heartening, we will have a wonderful time honoring "our boys" in the seat of government. If you have any intention of joining us, please contact Bruce at your earliest opportunity so we can arrange for adequate transportation.



04-16-2007, 02:06 PM
Jari --

Just FYI, I did send an email to that address about a week ago, and have yet to receive a reply. If anyone from the band is available that day -- especially drums, if no brass can make it -- we would love to hear from them.


B.C. Milligan
Company K, First Penna. Reserves

04-30-2007, 08:38 AM
Well, it was just a thought! May is almost upon us. If you, or anyone you know, is free for half of Memorial Day, we invite you to join us as we march down Pennsylvania Avenue. On this holiday, created to honor those who died in the Civil War, there is no finer tribute any of us could offer than to join serving members of our armed forces, veterans from past wars, and other reenactors from every war in America's past.

We know many people already perform similar honors in their hometowns. But for those who do not, please march with us.

Here, again, is our event Website. It includes some video footage from last year's parade, among other goodies:


Touch the elbow,

B.C. Milligan
Company K, First Penna. Reserves

04-30-2007, 08:56 AM
And a bump in return....wish I couldbe ther, but now I find myself headed to Disney World (Daughters 6th Birthday) for 7 days

Will be pushing this with the boys


bill watson
04-30-2007, 09:47 AM
It's looking more like I can do this.

Any objection to wearing a knapsack?

04-30-2007, 01:16 PM
I will let Doug Dobbs, who is our official organizer, respond to this, but it is my understanding that knapsacks were not normally worn during parades. I think.

It will be great to have you march with us, Bill, and after reading hundreds of your posts, I look forward to finally meeting you. I'll be the handsome (cough, cough) guy in the blue suit.

B.C. Milligan
Company K, First Penna. Reserves

05-16-2007, 07:30 AM
Last year, there were more Spanish-American War reenactors in the National Memorial Day Parade than those honoring the Civil War. There is still time to decide to join us -- just email Doug Dobbs at dougdobbs15@earthlink.net and let him know you will be coming.

Here are some of the 4,000 other marchers who will be with us: http://www.nationalmemorialdayparade.com/news.htm

If you do come, it will be a day you will never forget, and we guarantee you that the parade sponsors will not yank any serving military out of the parade!

Bruce Milligan
Company K, First Pennsylvania Reserves

Chuck A Luck
05-22-2007, 07:34 AM
This parade is just around the corner, and I hope some of you all can be there!

05-24-2007, 12:01 AM
I was able to update my website tonight with the latest information.


It basically boils down to:

1 - a change in the parade step off time

2 - a change of parking arrangements

3 - the announcement of two rally points where folks can either form up to carpool or drop off gear so they can take the Metro into DC.

If you're not committed to participate in local ceremonies, please contact me and come to the National Memorial Day parade. It's an experience you won't want to miss.

Yours in recalling the mystic cords of memory,


05-24-2007, 03:40 PM
We no longer have on street parking available to us, so they are recommending we park at the Ronald Reagan Building garage. It has space for 2,000 cars, but they screen everything carefully, so expect a long line to get in around noon that day.

Here are two pages re:


Looks like most of us will pay $20 to park.

Metro's website says the fare between White Flint and Judiciary Square on the Red Line is $4.70 roundtrip & should take about 25 minutes. It's about a four block walk south to the Mall. The area is ringed with Metro stops, pay your money and take your choice.

I haven't worked out the math for the Arlington rally point but I assume it would be similiar.


Assuming four people per car, it looks like a choice about waiting/hassle getting into the garage at Reagan and the cost of gas. If they have bomb sniffers working (one would hope) our black powder saturated gear will surely set that off.

I'd really recommend the Metro. Just make sure ALL your leathers go in the car from your rally point. I'm sure they won't want bayonets and cartrige boxes on the Metro.

I'll go early and try to warn the RR Bldg garage people that there may be some of us coming with "smelly gear," but no guarantee. As I recall last year, they wouldn't allow the muskets inside the garage. Drivers will have to swing past the Mall, unload the muskets and then park.

If I disappear and someone else answers my cell phone, you'll know I got busted by HSA... :)

That's all for today.


05-24-2007, 05:38 PM
North DC rally point:

White Flint Mall (http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&q=dave+and+busters+white+flint+mall+maryland&ie=UTF8&ll=39.041447,-77.106315&spn=0.000892,0.001808&t=k&z=19&iwloc=A&om=1) Dave and Buster's Entrance, Top deck of the parking garage.

West of DC rally point:

Arlington, VA on-street parking (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=6603+Little+Falls+Rd,+Arlington,+VA&sll=39.041447,-77.106315&sspn=0.000892,0.001808&ie=UTF8&ll=38.895325,-77.160898&spn=0.001787,0.003616&t=k&z=18&iwloc=addr&om=1)

Both of these have Metro stations within easy walking distance and will get you into the city with minimal hassle.

Reagan Office Bldg (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=Ronald+Reagan+Office+Building+Washington+DC&ie=UTF8&ll=38.893755,-77.029459&spn=0.007148,0.014462&z=16&om=1) see previous link for directions and access points


05-27-2007, 10:47 AM
** Be at your rally point no later than 11 AM Monday. Be earlier if you can.

That will give us time to arrange for who will be taking muskets in their car, walking to Metro, riding in and walking from the Metro to our parade staging site at 7th and Madison. There is some "snafu" time built into that, but we need to be moving folks toward the Metro by 11:30. After that you're on your own. Head for Madison Dr. and 7th any way you can.

I plan to get a head count from the rally point coordinators by 11:30 so I know what to plan for on the ground with parade staff.

** Bring a gum blanket. Showers are possible, high of 87F predicted.

**Start hydrating NOW.

Bring a lunch to eat tomorrow and LOTS of water. That means a full canteen, a couple bottles in your pockets and one or two in your haversack. Toss 'em as you drain 'em.

Remember, if your urine isn't clear, you're not hydrated. (With some exceptions for medications and vitamin C.)

** Sunscreen. It's going to be a scorcher. Make sure everything exposed is protected.

**I look forward to a wonderful day tomorrow, honoring our fallen veterans with you all. Contact me via email before 9AM tomorrow. I'll check it just before I leave. After that try my cell.



05-27-2007, 02:30 PM
Doug, B.C., and others,

I look forward to seeing you all again down in the District. Last year was a wonderful event, and I was just thinking the same thing about the Span Am reenactors. There were more gal-trooper Span Am reenactors, even, than CW b'hoys! I hope all goes well, again, and am hydrating already. Doug, I hope you aren't personally checking everyone's urine colours...



05-28-2007, 06:07 PM
Much could, and will, be said of the marvelous things we saw today, but I've rarely been prouder to march with a group of fellows than I have with those who turned out today.

Shaun brought five Zouaves, plus the rest of us in "standard" infantry gear. We were able to rest in the shade until we stepped off. Jari came by to visit and say hello. He was with the Air Force band, leading the parade, but made the walk around the corner to chat with us. A class act.

We carried the Sixth Corps, First Division flag down Constitution Ave. with what seemed like hundreds of thousands of folks lining the parade route. It was a glorious public acknowledgement of our debt to those men who wore Union blue. All along the route people cheered and clapped. Some of them even knew what a zouave was! ;)

As we ended the route and slowly wandered back down to the parking garage my friend Jason & I got to see several WWII vets pass by and they all seemed pleased to see US there. There was one black man in particular who stood up and saluted a little knot of us in Union blue as his vehicle passed by. He and I'd made eye contact and you could just read his face like a book. It was a "thank you" if I've ever seen one. I'd love to know the story of why he seemed so personaly moved by the sight of us. A special moment in a special day.

At another point a couple came up and asked us to have a picture taken with a sign greeting their son's unit in Iraq, which we did with great pleasure.

Not long after that a woman came up and asked what the flag was about, so I told her about the army being divided into corps, etc. and she seemed quite interested. Took me off guard to have someone ask, usually people assume we're the hospital brigade or something. ;)

It was a hot day but we all hydrated well (no, I didn't check urine colors, Shaun.) :D and no one had any unusual problems from what I could tell. We were glad to get off our feet and in the shade though.

My deep and sincere thanks to those who turned out to march today and I hope we can continue to grow next year as well. I'll try to post a couple snapshots I took on the web page tomorrow.



05-29-2007, 09:12 AM
It was a great day, and the spectators might even have exceeded the 150,000 who viewed last year's parade. Plus, this time, Rob Hodge didn't get arrested (though Charlie Kibler and I saw a jeep filled with WWII reenactors and mounting a .50 caliber MG getting pulled over by the D.C. cops as we drove into town -- oops!).

The three groups of Federals in the parade totalled about 40 or so in uniform, plus I think there were two cavalrymen. That's a slight improvement over last year, but it is still our dream that one day, for this most important of parades, we will see a full battalion of troops (with music, even!) marching to honor the heroes of all our wars.

In addition to reenactors from every American War (including a group that was dragging two canoes down Constitution Avenue; I am guessing they were Rogers' Rangers), there were real heroes from all our current and previous wars, both in the parade and on the sidewalks. To be saluted and cheered by them was as great an honor as I would ever hope to find in this hobby.

My new motto for this parade, as I said to Doug on Monday, is "150 by the 150th!" I hope that as time goes on, one or more battalion organizations will decide to join us (I think one of yesterday's groups was from Vincent's Brigade). I could not imagine a better way to promote the hobby and to stir the interest of potential recruits than a parade on a holiday that had its origins in the Civil War. And where else can you do a "living history" for over 150,000 people?

B.C. Milligan
Company K, First Penna. Reserves

Pvt Schnapps
05-29-2007, 10:35 AM
Here's a little AAR I sent out to a couple groups I belong to:

Memorial Day in the Nation’s Capital, 2007

Doug Dobbs organized a contingent to represent all Federal civil war reenactors in the annual DC Memorial Day parade. We numbered 11, including Doug, Bob Mosher of the 28th MA, Bruce Milligan and Charles Kibler of the 3rd Maryland, Jason Usher and me from the Brady Sharp Shooters, and Shaun Grennan with four comrades from the 114th PA, the Zouaves d’Afrique.

I rode in from northern Virginia with Bob, who found a parking space on the street just about four blocks from our rendezvous point at 7th & Madison NW. With no trouble we found a sign for “group 47” right across from the National Gallery, under some welcome shade trees and not far from a battery of porta-johns. We brought extra bottles of water in our haversacks and received a further supply of bottled water from the organizers just before we formed up for the parade. We spent the time between noon and 2:00 lounging around and chatting with our neighbors, the latter including Rob Hodges and Jim Connelly, who were marching with a contingent from the Sons of Confederate veterans. Jari Villenueva also stopped by to say hello; he was carrying his bugle and about to march with the Air Force band.

There were many types of groups marching, ranging from high school and college bands to Revolutionary War reenactors, World War II vehicles, antique cars, and carriages with George and Mary Washington and Abe and Mary Lincoln. There were more flags than one could count and – once we got started and wheeled onto Constitution Avenue – more spectators than I would have guessed, lined four or five deep on both sidewalks, all the way along the route, from 7th to about 17th.

We had another only group of Federal civil war reenactors in the parade – the 20th Maine preceded us and, having an excellent drummer, helped us keep step despite the marching band behind us. Doug went in front, with the Zouaves in the front rank, putting our most colorful foot forward. Doug carried a 1st Division 6th Corps banner and it only later occurred to me that some of the crowd must have wondered why the Red Cross paraded with rifle-muskets.

Though it was a short march, it was a pretty warm and humid day. Add to that the strain of keeping in step in brogans and heel plates on hot asphalt in front of a crowd of thousands, and you get a pretty good work out. I’ve taken five mile hikes in July in heavy marching order that have been less fatiguing. By the time we broke formation near the Pan American building, we were all red-faced, soaked in sweat, and nicely tired.

After a round of snapshots and thank-you’s, Bob and I walked back along Constitution and took in the rest of the parade. We stopped to present arms for the Tuskegee Airmen and 442nd RCT, and a couple of more times to have our pictures taken with various families. One man remarked as we passed, “There go some of the original civil war reenactors,” which I took as a compliment though, honestly, I don’t know whether he was referring to our authenticity or our age.

Apart from that, we had a clear path to the car and were back in Arlington before 4:00. I had plenty of time to take a shower, stow my gear, and grill my own Memorial Day dinner. Hopefully more DC area reenactors will learn how easy, enjoyable, and rewarding this particular event is. And maybe this will lead to a substantially greater turn-out next year.

05-29-2007, 07:36 PM
Memorial Day in the Nation’s Capital, 2007
Apart from that, we had a clear path to the car and were back in Arlington before 4:00. I had plenty of time to take a shower, stow my gear, and grill my own Memorial Day dinner. Hopefully more DC area reenactors will learn how easy, enjoyable, and rewarding this particular event is. And maybe this will lead to a substantially greater turn-out next year.

Well, this DC resident finally learned how rewarding this event can be. My thanks to Doug Dobbs, who posted the 'Call to Arms' here that got me off my backside and down to the parade.

Although I went Downtown and was dim enough not to find Doug's group of marchers, I walked over to the Civil War unit nearest the assembly point, the 20th Maine. I looked lost enough that their members were gracious enough to let me fall in with them. Thank you, gentlemen.

A very rewarding day. The parade was very meaningful, and I met some new reenactors. DC residents, come on down next year and participate. My wife dropped me and my musket down by the orange cones at 7th and Constitution and picked me up at the orange cones at Virginia and E - piece of cake. I'm sure next year we can arrange an intra-DC car pool for interested Washingtonians.