The National Mall and Memorial Parks are home to some of the nation's most iconic and sacred sites dedicated to our nation's veterans and wars. Members of the military and veterans organizations holding military promotion, reenlistment, retirement, or similar ceremonies may obtain a permit without cost.
Applying for a Permit
Submit an Application for a Permit to Conduct a Demonstration or Special Event in Park Areas (Special Event Permit Application) to the Division of Permits Management in person or mail:
National Mall and Memorial Parks
Applications can be delivered Monday through Friday from 8 am to 4 pm, except federal holidays or other National Mall & Memorial Parks office closures. Special Event Permit Applications are not accepted via fax or email. Applications are accepted up to one year in advance inclusive of the first day of setup.
Application Processing Cost
Application costs are generally not required for military promotion, retirement, or reenlistment ceremonies, other than wreath laying ceremonies.
A permits specialist will contact you if additional meetings, discussions, or documents are required and continue to walk you through the permit process. A permit must be issued prior to holding the activity in the park.
Things to Know Before Applying
A permits specialist will guide applicants through the permitting process and can also be contacted before applying to answer any questions. Please also review the Permits Resources related to your proposed activity.
Locations and Location-Specific Requirements
Most military promotions, reenlistment, and retirement ceremonies take place at four locations. Contact the Division of Permits Management to discuss any additional potential areas:
Lincoln Memorial Lower Plaza
Military ceremonies are permitted on the lower section of the plaza in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Limited setup may include flags, chairs, and a podium. Other equipment must be discussed with the permits specialist.
Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool Steps
Military ceremonies are permitted on the bottom steps of the Lincoln Memorial nearest to the Reflecting Pool. Limited setup may include flags, chairs, and a podium. Other equipment must be discussed with the permits specialist.
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Military ceremonies are permitted on a lawn area between the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Constitution Gardens. Limited setup may include flags, chairs, and a podium. Other equipment must be discussed with the permits specialist.
World War II Memorial
Military ceremonies are permitted on the Ceremonial Entrance Plaza on the east side of the World War II Memorial. Limited setup may include flags, chairs, and a podium.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes, military ceremonies may take place at many locations throughout National Mall and Memorial Parks. Please contact the Division of Permits Management to discuss available locations, capacity, etc.
Information on this page is intended primarily for promotion, reenlistment, retirement, and similar career-related ceremonies. Please visit the Wreath Laying Ceremony Permits page for more information about the application process, associated costs, and event logistics.
Yes, in general Honor Flights conducting ceremonies for large groups of military veterans visiting memorials require a permit. There may be additional logistics to discuss with a permits specialist.
Private receptions are only permitted at two locations in National Mall and Memorial Parks, which are Henry Bacon Ballfield Private Reception Area and West Potomac Park Private Reception Area. Private receptions require a Special Events Permit and application processing fee.
Last updated: February 27, 2023