America's 398 national parks will offer the public free admission Nov. 10-12 during Veterans Day weekend in honor of those who serve and have served in the U.S. military, according to a National Park Service news release.
"National parks preserve places that commemorate our country's collective heritage -- our ideals, our majestic lands, our sacred sites, our patriotic icons -- which our military has defended through the years," National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said in the release.
"We are grateful for the service and sacrifice of military members, past and present, and honored to tell their story at many of our national parks," Jarvis added.
From frontier forts to World War II battlefields, more than 70 national parks have direct connections to the military, the release said. These include the earliest national parks, where Army engineers designed park roads and buildings and the cavalry enforced regulations from 1886 until the National Park Service was established in 1916.
National parks throughout the country will hold special events to commemorate Veterans Day, according to the release. Highlights include:
-- Evening candlelight tours of Vicksburg National Cemetery, Miss., where visitors will encounter historical personalities;
-- The 7th annual illumination of 6,000 graves at Poplar Grove National Cemetery in Petersburg National Battlefield, Va.;
-- A Continental soldier encampment at Independence National Historical Park, Pa.;
-- A talk on the African-American Civil War experience at Natchez National Historical Park, Miss.; and,
-- An exhibit and talks about the Roosevelts in the World Wars at Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, N.Y.
Additional benefits for veterans on Veterans Day include a free Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area cruise that will pass the USS Constitution on its way to Georges Island, home of Fort Warren, according to the release.The National Park Service is also, in partnership with the Gettysburg Foundation, offering veterans free entrance to the Gettysburg National Military Park museum in Pennsylvania, the release said.