Wednesday, October 30, 2013

National Parks Commemorate Veterans Day with Free Admission and Special Events

The National Park Service will honor all military veterans with special events and free entrance to all 401 national parks for everyone during the Veterans Day weekend, November 9 through 11.

“Every national park tells a part of the American story, and many of the parks have a direct connection to those who have served in the military through the years,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “I invite everyone to come to a national park to commemorate Veterans Day, whether it is to learn more about those who have given so much to defend our freedoms or to simply enjoy the beauty and majesty of the land they fought to protect.” 

Dan Hottle is a combat veteran and National Park Service ranger at Yellowstone National Park.
NPS photo.

Hallowed places such as Saratoga, Fort McHenry, Vicksburg and the USS Arizona Memorial are among the 94 National Park Service battlefields, military parks, national cemeteries and military-related historic sites that commemorate the service and sacrifice of veterans throughout our country’s history. Additional national parks preserve American icons like the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore and the Liberty Bell which have inspired generations of troops.

“I have been very proud to serve my country as a Marine and now again for the National Park Service,” said Dan Hottle, a combat veteran who is one of thousands of veterans who work for the National Park Service. “Our parks bring out the very best in people from all walks of life, coming together to preserve our most valuable resources for our future generations.”
Some of the military-related special events taking place during the Veterans Day weekend are:
  • ·         The annual illumination of 6,000 gravesites of Union soldiers in the Poplar Grove National Cemetery in Petersburg National Battlefield (Va.)
  • ·         Encampments with living history demonstrations at  Colonial National Historical Park (Va.), Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve (Fla.) and Kings Mountain National Military Park (S.C.)
  • ·         An open house with Cold War veterans at Minute Man Missile National Historic Site (S.D.)
  • ·         The program "A Soldier's View of Wars and Trains" with re-enactors, veterans and active duty armed forces members at Steamtown National Historic Site (Penn.)
  • ·         A living military timeline that includes 70 reenactors and contemporary soldiers at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park (N.C.)
  • ·         Military commemorations and an enlistment ceremony for 20 recruits at Valley Forge National Historical Park (Penn.)
 Other family-friendly programs taking place include:
  • ·         A beach walk at Padre Island National Seashore (Texas)
  • ·         A 19th century magic show featuring “curious and innocent diversions for parlor and refined gatherings” at Hampton National Historic Site (Md.)
  • ·         A sunset stroll at White Sands National Monument (N.M.)
  • ·         The “Wish Upon a Star” program at the Rock Creek Park (Washington, D.C.) planetarium
  • ·         A tour of the Paramount Ranch movie set at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (Calif.)
  • ·         The making of sweet sorghum molasses at Great Smoky Mountains National Park (Tenn.)
A full list of all National Park Service events can be found at

The National Park Service also provides active duty members of the military and their dependents with an annual national park pass, an $80 value, at no charge. Permanently disabled veterans can receive a free lifetime pass to all parks. The passes provides entrance to all national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, and many other Federal lands – more than 2,000 in all. The passes can be acquired at any national park that charges an entrance fee. Information about all national park passes is available at

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