Commemorate Memorial Day With a Virtual 'Parade of Heroes'

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The genealogy site Ancestry has organized a virtual event to commemorate Memorial Day and the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. The stream is scheduled to air on Ancestry's Facebook Page via Watch Party on Monday, May 25, at 11 a.m. ET (8 a.m. PT).

Kathie Lee Gifford will host the festivities, and the event will include a musical performance from singer-songwriter Tori Kelly, in addition to exclusive veteran interviews and special tributes.

The History Channel, Wounded Warrior Project, The Greatest GENERATIONS Foundation, Heroes of the Second World War and TAPS all teamed up with Ancestry to produce the joint tribute.

"There's never been a more important time to honor our ancestors' stories of triumph and to preserve the memory of WWII, one of the most significant events in world history," said Margo Georgiadis, president and CEO of Ancestry. "When we take time to learn about our ancestors, we give power to their stories and pay tribute to their service. We also can unlock inspiration to become stronger and more resilient ourselves. This Memorial Day, Ancestry is making it easier for people to discover their personal connections to the war, and commemorate those who served and sacrificed."

The 45-minute production will be streamed on Ancestry's Facebook Page via Watch Party and later available to stream on www.ancestry.com. There will be a special focus on World War II due to this year's 75th anniversary; the program will also feature patriotic hymns performed by The Lincoln Way Marching Band from New Lenox, Illinois; celebrity cameo appearances; and educational clips provided by the participating veterans organizations.

Ancestry is providing free access to some of its archives in tribute to veterans. If you've got a family member who served, make sure you take advantage of the opportunities listed below.

  • More than 550 million military records on Fold3, covering military conflicts as early as the Revolutionary War, open May 21-25.
  • Nearly 500 million records and images from the National Archives and Records Administration available on Ancestry, including all 36 million of the nation's available World War II young men's draft cards, open now through June 1.

"We couldn't be more honored to partner with Ancestry to bring to life stories of remembrance this Memorial Day," said retired Army Lt. Gen. Mike Linnington, Wounded Warrior Project CEO. "Too many of the warriors we serve have personally experienced loss on and off the battlefield. Along with them, we humbly pay our respects to those heroes that made the ultimate sacrifice."

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