Ceremonies

Park ranger at a podium holds up a photo of a person in a navy uniform. He is surrounded by people in navy dress uniforms.
Park superintendent remembers a navy commander in earlier years at World War II Valor In The Pacific National Monument as part of a Change In Command Ceremony.

NPS Photo

Renewing Your Oath, Change Of Command: National Parks Offer Unique Ceremony Locations


Military oaths are the foundation of the military, with a long history stretching back to Roman times. An oath is defined as a formal declaration of a solemn promise, often invoking a divine witness, regarding one’s future action or behavior. (Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, 2015) The first US Congress in 1789 passed the first statue in regard to administering oaths in support of the Constitution. Today, by taking the Oath of Office or Oath of Enlistment, military members commit to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. (“The Oath of Enlistment”)

The important act of taking an oath is a meaningful moment. National Parks offer a fitting backdrop for such an action, as they are places set aside as nationally significant. Many national parks also commemorate key junctures of our national and military history, such as Gettysburg National Military Park, Independence National Historical Park, and World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument.

There are currently 417 national parks. First, do a little research on parks near you for basic information about the park and to learn how to contact the park. Though some parks host military ceremonies regularly, for other parks this may be a new request – start your research early to allow time for coordination at the park and as needed among your superiors. You will be responsible for securing the appropriate participants and internal military paperwork necessary. Your chosen park may have an established process for such ceremonies you will need to work within, and others will have more flexibility. Expect to fill out some permitting paperwork on the details of when, where, and what will occur. Work with your park to finalize the ceremony location details.

The National Park Service invites all military members to consider their national parks as unique, fitting locations to renew your Oath of Office, Oath of Enlistment, or Change Of Command. Contact a park near you for more information.

Ceremonies In National Parks

Loading results...