April 14, 2006
CW's Memorial Day ceremony honors those who made the ultimate sacrifice
Colonial Williamsburg will pay tribute to those who gave their lives for our nation’s liberties during Memorial Day celebrations beginning at 10 a.m. Monday, May 29 at the Governor’s Palace in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area.
The hour-long Memorial Day ceremony begins in front of the Governor’s Palace to recognize the graves of 140 Revolutionary War dead with music by Colonial Williamsburg’s Fifes and Drums, cannon salutes fired by uniformed colonial militia and a Revolutionary War-era honor guard. During the 1781 siege of Yorktown, the Governor’s Palace served as a Continental Army field hospital.
Following placement of a memorial wreath at the plaque marking the graves of soldiers who died of wounds sustained during the siege, participants march from Palace Green to Bruton Parish Church. There, a wreath is offered to a representative of Bruton Parish Church, who will lead prayers in memory of the war dead interred in the churchyard, followed by musket salutes fired by the militia.
The final stop in the march will be the gravesites near the Williamsburg Inn of French allies killed at the Battle of Yorktown. Following a declaration of appreciation for the French soldiers’ aid in the final victory of the American Revolution, a third wreath is laid and a militia artillery crew fires three final salutes.
In keeping with the Civil War-era origin of Memorial Day, women place the memorial wreaths at each location. The public is encouraged to attend and participate in the ceremony honoring the nation’s fallen soldiers.