Memorial Day at Chalmette National Cemetery

Image of people with bowed heads during Memorial Day ceremony at Chalmette National Cemetery

The Vietnam Veterans of VFW Post 3798 present a Memorial Day ceremony at Chalmette National Cemetery each year. Here a moment of silence encourages remembrance of troops who gave their lives for their country.

 
Image of people putting American flags at graves in Chalmette National Cemetery

Every Memorial Day, volunteers and park staff put a flag at every one of the 14,000+ headstones in Chalmette National Cemetery.

Chalmette National Cemetery holds more than 14,000 headstones marking the final resting places of American veterans and others from the Civil War to the Vietnam War. As a young visitor to the cemetery said, "These aren't just headstones. Every one of the headstones is a person, and that's why we should remember them."

Each year, the Vietnam Vietnam Veterans of VFW Post 3798 present a Memorial Day tribute to America's fallen troops at Chalmette National Cemetery on the Sunday before Memorial Day. The public is invited, and the event is free. The 2015 Memorial Day ceremony is at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 24.

Each year, volunteers and park staff prepare for the tribute and for Memorial Day by putting flags at each one of Chalmette National cemetery's 14,000+ headstones. In recent years, volunteers and staff from The National WWII Museum have assisted with this project. For Memorial Day in 2014, more than 175 volunteers from the museum, branches of the armed services, schools, scout, and community groups, as well as individuals, worked on the flag project. Their efforts are a wonderful tribute to the men and women who gave so much for their country.

Volunteers for the flag project are needed. The project's job descriptions are below; to sign up, call 504-281-0511 ext. 32. Volunteers will need to fill in and sign a volunteer service agreement and a photo release form before starting work; bring your signed form with you to speed up the process of checking in. Volunteers under 18 are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult.

  • Placing the flags begins at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, May 22. The project usually takes three hours and requires walking and bending over in possibly hot, humid, and buggy conditions. Be prepared with sunscreen, insect repellent, and closed-toe shoes.
  • Picking up the flags and preparing them for storage begins at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 26. The project usually takes about three hours; it requires walking and bending over in possibly hot, humid, and buggy conditions as well as rolling flags for storage. Be prepared with sunscreen, insect repellent, and closed-toe shoes.

Chalmette National Cemetery is located at 8606 West St. Bernard Highway in Chalmette, just downriver from Chalmette Battlefield, site of the Battle of New Orleans in 1815 (click here for a map to the battlefield and national cemetery). The battlefield visitor center and battlefield and national cemetery entrance gates are open Tuesday-Saturday, Memorial Day, and Veterans Day 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. The battlefield visitor center is closed on Sunday-Monday and on federal holidays other than Memorial Day and Veterans Day, but entrance gates to the battlefield and to the national cemetery are open 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. on those days. For more information about the national cemetery or Memorial Day at Chalmette National Cemetery, call 504-281-0510 or click here.

Learn more about Memorial Day and how you can those who have served their country at the My Memorial Day website.

 
Image of volunteers in National World War Two Museum shirts at Chalmette National Cemetery

Staff and volunteers from The National WWII Museum partner with the park each year to put out flags at headstones in the national cemetery.

 
 
 
Image of volunteers preparing American flags for storage

Picking up more than 14,000 flags and preparing them for storage is a big job, but volunteers and park staff working together get the project done quickly.

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