Memorial Day—when we honor the men and women of the United States Armed Forces who lost their lives in the service of their country—is right around the corner, and a visitor to San Diego has an excellent and unique opportunity to mark the holiday.
The core of San Diego’s Memorial Day celebration takes place onboard a genuine landmark—or shall we say “seamark”—of American military history: the USS Midway, which in its modern incarnation as the USS Midway Museum hosts Legacy Week from May 27 through 29 this year.
As a guest at one of the standout San Diego Hotels, the Sofia, you’re but a few blocks from the downtown waterfront where the Midway’s permanently moored—and thus within shouting distance of the mighty ship’s Memorial Day happenings!
Legacy Week kicks off at 9 AM on Saturday the 27th with its traditional free opener: the Wreath Remembrance Ceremony, which includes a stirring flyover and the tossing of biodegradable wreaths overboard in tribute to veterans.
That evening, the alt-rock group Lifehouse takes to the sunset flight deck to headline the charity Freedom Concert, which raises money for a trio of local military non-profits. (You can get tickets right here.)
Each day of Legacy Week from 10 AM to 4 PM, the USS Midway Museum will present interactive family-friendly activities themed around the Armed Forces at the Adventure Discovery Zone. On Sunday, May 28 and Memorial Day, meanwhile, you can learn the ins-and-outs of the military aircraft displayed on the U.S.S. Midway from the experts in the all-day “Meet the Aviators” stations. There’s nothing like marveling at the capabilities and the history of these flying machines with the pilots themselves.
Memorial Day comes suitably packed with climactic Legacy Week events. Some include the San Diego Blood Bank Blood Drive (10 AM to 4 PM) and flight-deck concerts by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Band (11 AM and 1:30 PM). Plus, live music and dance by the Music Machine of Bonita Vista High School to celebrate the gifting of murals painted by Southern California students to the U.S. Navy (12:30 PM).
At 3 PM, the heart of Legacy Week: The Midway will host a National Moment of Remembrance for servicemen and women lost, followed up with a poignant performance of Echo Taps.
An Appropriate Memorial Day Venue
The USS Midway is a special place to honor veterans and those in uniform, to say the least. When the 972-foot-long aircraft carrier began its career in 1945, it ranked as the biggest ship in the world. The warship—the longest-serving U.S. aircraft carrier of the 20th century—put in nearly a half-century in the Navy, including stints in the Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm.
In 2004—a dozen years after retiring from active duty—the Midway reinvented itself as a museum, and now showcases nearly 30 restored vintage aircraft, a slew of exhibits, and a pair of thrilling flight simulators.
The USS Midway Museum is one of San Diego’s top attractions anytime, but it’s certainly a marvelous venue for a Memorial Day celebration. Come stay with us at the Sofia Hotel—among the truly stellar San Diego Hotels—and experience Legacy Week on a famous and long-serving aircraft carrier!