Sunday, December 4, 2022

Celebrating 239th anniversary of the Siege of Yorktown without the annual parade

(WYDaily/Courtesy of Yorktown Battlefield and Colonial National Historical Park)
(WYDaily/Courtesy of the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown)

This year marks the 239th anniversary of America’s Revolutionary War victory at Yorktown, but because of the coronavirus, the Yorktown Day parade and public commemorative ceremonies are canceled. 

“Unfortunately because of covid the parade isn’t happening which normally brings in about 2,000 people,” said Michael Byrd, Yorktown Day Coordinator for Yorktown Battlefield and Colonial National Historical Park. 

The Yorktown Day dinner, reception luncheon and the Yorktown Day Parade are cancelled, according to a news release from York County. The Yorktown Day Association made the decision in July in accordance with guidance from Gov. Ralph Northam and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Yorktown Day is commemorated each year on Oct. 19 as it marks the anniversary of the 1781 Siege of Yorktown in the American Revolution. Oct. 19, 1781, British General Charles Cornwallis surrendered to the American-French armies commanded by General George Washington after a nine-day bombardment. 

Byrd said 30 to 40 people are expected to attend the annual  Yorktown Day Patriotic Wreath Laying Ceremony at the monument and the French Wreath Laying ceremonies at the cemetery and memorial. The details of these events have only been shared to members of the Yorktown Day Association and select others as there will only be seating for those invited. 

He said he expects members of the public will show up or stumble upon the event and try to partake — they will not be turned away, but there will not be seating for them.  

There will be safety precautions at the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown, Yorktown Battlefield and throughout Historic Yorktown. 

People looking to celebrate are encouraged to attend the American Revolution Museum’s annual “Yorktown Victory Celebration” event on Saturday, Oct. 17. The event will present a variety of interpretive experiences and artillery firings. 

The site of the climactic 1781 siege at Colonial National Historical Park at Yorktown Battlefield is open for self-guided tours, and a free tour app is available here. Park Rangers will be outside Yorktown Battlefield Visitor Center from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day to provide information about Colonial National Historical Park and Yorktown Battlefield. 

Museum admission includes Yorktown Victory Celebration” event activities. Admission is $17.50 for adults, and $7.75 for ages 6-12 and children younger than 6 receive complimentary admission.

Residents of York County, James City County and Williamsburg, including William & Mary students, receive free admission with proof of residency, according to the website.

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