What to Do for Memorial Day 2016 in Greater East Texas

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial beginning of summer, and there's more going on in East Texas than you might think. From Memorial Day observances, which honor those who gave their lives in defense of our freedoms, to fun-in-the-sun activities, there is sure to be something entertaining for the whole family. These are just a few of the exciting events going on in the area categorized by holiday-specific observances and non holiday-specific activities and destinations.

Honoring the Fallen - Memorial Day Observances

The Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery will conduct its annual Memorial Day observances on Monday, May 30 at 11 a.m. Parking on cemetery grounds is limited, but visitors may park at The Potter's House Church where shuttle buses will begin running at 8 a.m. The 1st Cavalry Band will provide music. There will be a wreath-laying ceremony, VIP guest speaker, and the playing of "Taps." The ceremony will last approximately one hour.

The Van Zandt County Veterans Memorial in Canton, TX. Annual Memorial Day observances will be conducted on Monday, May 30 at 9 a.m. Parking is available on site, but visitors are encouraged to arrive early as space is limited. There will be VIP speakers, a 21 gun salute, missing man fly-over, and roll call of the fallen from Van Zandt County. The ceremony will last approximately two hours.

Memorial Day Ceremony at the Marshall Mall in Marshall, TX. The ceremony is sponsored by the Marshall Chamber of Commerce and will begin at 11 a.m.

Freedom in the Park in Whitehouse, TX. The Whitehouse Chamber of Commerce will host this annual event on Saturday, May 28 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the Whitehouse City Park. Activities include a keynote speech by U.S. Representative Louis Gohmert, flag ceremony, vendors, BBQ cook off, live music and many more activities for "kids" of all ages. There will be a fireworks display at the conclusion of the festival. For more information, contact the City of Whitehouse, TX.

The Texas State Railroad's Patriot Train Salute to the Armed Forces in Rusk, TX. The steam locomotive which runs between Rusk and Palestine, TX is a must for the family. On Saturday, May 28, the Texas State Railroad will run its 18th Annual Patriot Train. The train will depart the Rusk station at 11 a.m. for the 2 1/2 hour round trip. Members of the Abel Company, a World War II re-enactment group will be on hand to conduct a living history museum. Admission prices vary and are available on the Patriot Train web site.

Memorial Day Weekend Activities and Events

Splash Kingdom Waterparks open for the summer on Saturday, May 28. With locations in Canton, Greenville, Hudson Oaks, Nocogdoches, TX and Shreveport, LA, there's sure to be a park close to you. Admission prices vary and can be found on the Splash Kingdom web site.

Tyler State Park offers a ton of outdoor activities -- fishing, swimming, boating, biking and hiking trails, picnic areas, and more. The park is open every day. Admission for adults is $6 and children under 12 enter the park for free. All camping space is reserved for Memorial Day weekend, but day trippers are welcome.

Jason Walker is a life-long resident of East Texas and is a blogger, local historian, and English teacher.