It is a gift. It is a sacrifice. It is a duty of many, taken up by few. This site is dedicated to the men and women of the American military, past and present. The National Park Service preserves and shares the stories of the American military over the last three centuries. We also provide opportunities for our military community to connect to the beautiful landscapes and important history they defend.

National parks and the military have strong ties going back to the establishment of Yellowstone as the world's first national park in 1872. The U.S. Cavalry watched over America's national parks and did double duty, serving as the first park rangers until the National Park Service was created 44 years later. During World War II, many parks were set aside for the training and care of military personnel. Today, dozens of national parks commemorate military battles and achievements.

Discover the people who have protected our freedom. Learn about the places that shaped our military history and culture. Explore opportunities for active-duty military, veterans, and their families.

Engravings Added to U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial

As we commemorate the anniversary of the U.S. Marine landing at Iwo Jima we reflect on the recent additions to the Marine Corps Memorial to honor service in Afghanistan and Iraq.


Open Transcript


So I was just three years old when we had news that my father’s plane had gone down in Vietnam. Unfortunately, I never really got to know him; not until years later when I worked on the National Mall myself at the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial.

It was when I was working here on the National Mall that on a regular basis
I got to walk past my father’s name.
He along with fifty eight thousand (58,000) other members of the military were lost during the Vietnam conflict. Even though it’s difficult walking past my dad’s name, (sigh) it makes me proud to know what he’s done for our country and what our service members today continue to do.

That’s part of the reason why the national parks are so incredibly important. Because they do tell the story of our nation but they really do speak to who we are as a nation.

We recognize that our national parks
are part of how we talk about who we are as a nation and with over four hundred (400) units, there’s a national park near you that’s going to help you connect to
who we are as the United States of America.

Visit our keyboard shortcuts docs for details
1 minute, 21 seconds

The names and dates of principal U.S. Marine Corps campaigns and battles are engraved at the base of the Marine Corps War Memorial as well as the Corps motto, “Semper Fidelis,” which means “always faithful” in Latin. The memorial also features the phrase, “Uncommon valor was a common virtue,” a quote from Admiral Chester W. Nimitz in honor of the Marines’ action on Iwo Jima. While the statue depicts a famous photograph of a flag-raising on the island of Iwo Jima in World War II, the memorial is dedicated to all Marines who have given their lives in defense of the United States since 1775.

Memorial Day display at War In The Pacific

Find Your National Park

There are over 400 national parks to visit. Many have a military connection. Find your park.

Two women sit gazing at the river.

Parks For Healing

Discover how veterans' park visits can help them in their transition to civilian life after combat.