The Commemorative Air Force’s military history museum. Photo: Nathan Lindstrom

For this three-day weekend, picnics, music festivals, and barbecues are in full force as Texans celebrate the unofficial start of summer. But as we enjoy these freedoms, it’s also a time to remember those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

Across the state, cities and museums have organized thoughtful tributes to those who lost their lives while serving in this country’s armed forces.

In Aransas Pass, the Third Coast Squadron and Museum of Military History hosts an Open House Fly-In during the day featuring a salute to veterans, and a 1940s and ’60s-style Hangar Dance in the evening—all to benefit the Commemorative Air Force’s mission of teaching and preserving history through restoring the aircraft and memories of fallen veterans from WWII to the present.

In Austin, the Texas Military Forces Museum at Camp Mabry commemorates the weekend with a Vietnam War living history demonstration, Close Assault: 1968. The informative performances celebrate the lives of lost soldiers, complete with firing demonstrations and preserved uniforms from the war.

In Mineral Wells, the National Vietnam War Museum hosts its 10th annual ceremony honoring 15 fallen soldiers whose names were added to the wall in the Vietnam Memorial Garden. The museum tells the story of the more than 5 million servicemen and women who served in Vietnam; the civilians who supported war efforts; the Vietnamese people, and their culture and history; and those at home who protested the war.

Richmond’s George Ranch Historical Park will explore the holiday’s roots as Decoration Day. Read letters from soldiers who fought in every era, participate in a Decoration Day ceremony, and help the park clean the graves of those who served in honor of those lost in war.

Fredericksburg’s National Museum of the Pacific War honors the day with a WWII battle reenactment and its annual ceremony. This year’s keynote speaker is Eric Brown, an Air Force veteran who served on assignments in Japan, the Philippines, Africa, the Middle East, and various locations throughout the U.S. Also in Fredericksburg, the Hangar Hotel will host a USO-Style Memorial Day Hangar Dance, with proceeds benefiting USO Ft. Hood.

In San Angelo, the Fort Concho National Historic Landmark—established as an army post in 1867 and deactivated in 1889—will honor the nation’s fallen defenders with military exercises. In previous years, the event has included patriotic music, a rifle volley salute, and a guest speaker addressing the meaning and significance of the holiday.

For more events to choose from this Memorial Day weekend—including a Memorial Weekend Bash in Victoria and a patriotic festival in Granbury—head to the Texas Highways Events Calendar.

The March 2024 cover of Texas Highways Magazine

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