National Park Week 2021 Celebrates Military Monday to Honor ‘Service of American Veterans’

by Chris Haney

On Saturday, National Park Week 2021 began a week-long celebration of our nation’s natural treasures. Each day has its own theme, and Monday has a particularly important topic that honors much more than the parks themselves. Military Monday is dedicated to the amazing men and women who have served our country in America’s armed forces.

The nine-day celebration of America’s national parks is a great opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. National Park Week 2021 runs from April 17 to 25, and helps connect people with our national parks. In addition, it also brings awareness to some of the most astounding outdoor areas in our country. With 423 national parks to explore across more than 84 million acres of land, Americans have plenty to choose from.

Throughout the week, there will be themed events for each day of the celebration. However, Military Monday is an especially important day during National Park Week. Some may not realize, but many of our national parks have direct connections to the military. Our national parks include battlefields, military parks, and historic sites that commemorate American veterans.

To honor the military and their families, numerous park programs have been created. Here’s how National Park Week is saluting our troops and veterans on Military Monday.

National Park Week: Military Monday

America the Beautiful Passes

Active-duty personnel and their dependents are all eligible for free park passes. America the Beautiful Passes grant access to all national parks and federal recreation areas at no cost to our military men and women. It’s the least the parks can do to pay their respects to those that have sacrificed so much for our freedoms.

Military Veterans and Gold Star Family Free Access Program

As of Veterans Day 2020, Gold Star Families and U.S. military veterans are eligible for free access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas. That includes national parks, wildlife refuges, and forests. The free passes are a way to thank veterans and Gold Star Families for their continuous support of our nation.

Gold Star Families are next of kin family members who lost loved ones while they served our country. Their families, and veterans alike, are encouraged to explore America’s natural treasures with the free access program.

Social Media Hashtags – #MilitaryMonday and #NationalParkWeek

Also, as part of the Military Monday celebrations, National Park Week organizers are encouraging visitors to honor military personnel on social media as well. On April 19, the event is asking for everyone to join them in thanking the military for their service. Whether in a national park or even in your own backyard, you can share your thanks virtually. Just add the hashtags #MilitaryMonday and #NationalParkWeek to your post to show your appreciation.

U.S. Army Field Band’s ‘We Stand Ready’ Virtual Concert

National Park Week is a little different this year since many of the events are virtual only. However, the brand new National Parks Services app allows users to experience every national park through their smartphone along with many of this week’s events.

Later on in the annual event, the United States Army Field Band will perform a live virtual concert. The National Park Week/Junior Ranger Day concert begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 24. The US Army Field Band Facebook and the National Park Service Facebook pages will stream the live concert for free.