Veterans Day is celebrated annually on November 11, allowing the community to honor those who sacrificed their lives for our country and also to thank the men and women who now serve to protect our country.
Fitchburg and Leominster will honor the veterans several times over the next few days, starting Thursday.
In Fitchburg on Thursday at 11 a.m., the annual Veterans Day ceremony will be held at the Senior Center / Armory, located at 14 Wallace Ave.
The music will be performed by the Fitchburg High School Band and the International Veterans’ Chorus, conducted by Fran Cooley.
The event will also include a presentation of the colors, the singing of the national anthem, distinguished speakers, a presentation of the annual Veterans Council Appreciation Awards and the laying of the wreaths. Masks will be mandatory for this event.
Two days later, Saturday, the community will have two more opportunities to support their local veterans, starting with a Veterans Tribute event, followed by a Murder and Mystery show / dinner that evening, both organized by Fitchburg Veterans Services.
Fitchburg Veteran Services works with at least 20 veterans a day, with a range of questions and issues, and the Friends of Fitchburg Veterans Emergency Assistance Fund provides disbursements to help veterans in need.
Fitchburg Veterans Services Commissioner Michele Marino came to Fitchburg in 2011.
“When I started, I noticed that there were veterans who needed a little help paying for fuel oil, food, rent and other things,” said Marino. “For some, their incomes were perhaps a little too high to qualify for alternative resources, because they were working, but were still in need. “
Marino says the emergency relief fund has helped many veterans repair cars, fill oil tanks and pay utility bills so their electricity doesn’t go out. At least half a dozen families are able to afford rent or secure an apartment, preventing them from becoming homeless.
“We are only asking that they be a Fitchburg veteran and have an honorable discharge,” said Marino.
If you are a veteran or know of someone who could benefit from these funds, call the Fitchburg Veteran Services office at 978-829-1797.
The Tribute to Veterans event will take place Saturday at 1 p.m. at the historic Forest Hill Cemetery in Fitchburg, at the entrance to Mount Elam Road.
Stratton players, along with the 15th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, Fitchburg Historical Society, and Fitchburg Cemetery Department, with the participation of area veterans, will pay tribute to Fitchburg Civil War-era soldiers who fought in the Battle of Ball’s Bluff in Leesburg, Virginia.
This will be followed by a brief walking tour where veterans and volunteers tell the stories of these heroic soldiers.
“Visitors will hear about the distinguished career of Colonel Edwin Upton and that of the non-commissioned soldiers who fought at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff exactly 160 years ago,” said Sally Cragin, elected Fitchburg city councilor. “We will also visit the graves of the men who were injured and imprisoned after Ball’s Bluff.”
Participating veterans include George Kincannon (US Army and vice-commander of the American Legion Post 10), Jim Bargnesi and Bruce Lucier (US Air Force) and Joseph Byrne (Green Berets).
Cemetery Foreman Dan Roy, Margo Baker Thompson of the Stratton Players and Cragin will relate.
Tribute to Veterans is a free event, but reservations are recommended. For more information or to make a reservation, email [email protected] or call / text 978-320-1335.
Donations are gratefully received and will go to the Fitchburg Veterans Relief Fund.
Later that day on Saturday, the community is invited to a 6 p.m. Murder Mystery Dinner Show at the Great Wolf Lodge, located at 150 Great Wolf Drive.
“This will be an interactive murder mystery show, where guests will have to guess ‘who doesn’t know’,” Marino said. “We’ll have prizes for those who guess correctly – and crazy prizes for those with the dumbest answer.”
There will also be a silent auction, a 50/50 raffle and other chances to win prizes.
Dinner will include a Caesar salad, Parmesan crusted chicken with supreme sauce, roasted Yukon potatoes with herbs, green beans, buns and an assortment of cookies and brownies. A vegetarian option will also be available. The cost of the dinner and the show is $ 55.
“The Stratton Players have had many veterans as members over the years, and we are honored to create an event to show our gratitude and respect,” said Cragin. “The fact that Civil War reenactors fire a salvo, say a prayer and honor the Ball’s Bluff veterans of 160 years ago will show our community how much we appreciate those who paid the ultimate price for defend the Union. “
“These events are important because they remind the community to appreciate our Veterans, who should be recognized and honored not only on Veterans Day, but every day,” said Marino.
To order tickets for the Murder Mystery show / dinner, visit Eventbrite or call the Fitchburg Veteran Services office at 978-829-1797.
Leominster Veterans Day ceremonies begin Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at City Common with a wreath laying, a rifle salute and tap dancing performed by the Leominster High School Orchestra.
At 11 a.m. in Leominster at Town Hall, there will be a program hosted by the Director of Veterans Services, Richard Voutour, which will begin with the recitation of the Oath of Allegiance led by WWII veterans from the city.
Mayor Dean Mazzarella will present several awards including Veteran of the Year, the Helen Hill Patriotic Award, the Veterans Service Excellence Award and High School Orchestra Music.
That evening there will be a Veterans Appreciation Dinner from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Polar Park in Worcester. RSVP is required. To register, send an email to [email protected]
Friday in Leominster starting at noon there will be a Veterans Appreciation Drive-Thru Lunch at the Veterans Center at 100 West St. RSVP required. To register, dial 978-534-7538.
Also on Thursday, free meals will be offered to veterans at Chili’s, Texas Roadhouse, Applebee’s, Golden Corral, Red Robin and more. For a full list, visit Military.com.