Army JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) from Boston's English High School marching in the Veterans Day Parade, held every November 11th
Veterans Day events in Boston pay tribute to veterans, and to Boston's military history and fight for freedom.
Not just one, but two 2015 Veterans Day Parades, a special Harbor cruise to Fort Warren to explore Boston's military history, and several other special events mark the occasion.
Traditionally, Veterans Day sales in Boston provide large discounts.
It's your best chance to shop for gifts on sale before Black Friday ushers in the crazed frenzy of holiday shopping.
The holiday marks the anniversary of the November 11, 1918 signing of the Armistice, the agreement to end the fighting during World War I, once called the "war to end all wars."
This historic event, initially called Armistice Day, has been celebrated since 1919 when World War I officially ended on June 28th with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in France.
Veterans Day is always observed on the Armistice anniversary, regardless of the day of the week on which it falls.
In 201t, the commemoration takes place on Wednesday, November 11.
Veterans Day is an official Federal holiday, which means Federal, state, and municipal offices, banks, and schools are closed in Boston, but most other businesses including stores and shopping malls are open (and most offer big sales and discounts).
Although Armistice Day initially honored just those who fought and died in World War I, its meaning was expanded after World War II and the Korean War to honor all veterans - and to be renamed Veterans Day.
Boston's first Veterans Day Parade, organized by the kicks off at 1pm (time still being confirmed for 2015) on Wednesday, November 11 at the corner of Boylston and Tremont Streets. The second Veterans Day Parade, known as the Veterans for Peace Parade, follows right behind it to honor and celebrate the original intention for Armistice Day - a Day of Peace.
Both parades march around Boston Common along Boylston and Tremont Streets, and on to City Hall Plaza and the front of Faneuil Hall next to the statue of American Revolution patriot Samuel Adams, where you can hear a variety of speeches, anti-war poetry readings, and music.
Look for an assortment of military units, high school ROTC groups, honorary militias, marching bands, veterans' organizations, and - since this is Boston where we proudly carry our traditions forward - debate and dissent.
Why two parades?
Some groups marching in the official Boston Veterans Day Parade didn't want Veterans for Peace, a group founded in 1985 to increase awareness about the price society pays to fight wars, to participate in their parade.
So every year, Veterans for Peace marches in their own parade, separated from the first parade by about 3 minutes, 300 yards, and a police escort.
The Boston Police Pipes and Drum Corps leads the parade, playing stirring traditional and contemporary military music spanning the centuries.
Boston Police Fife and Drum Corp
This is the Gaelic Column of Pipes and Drums, which is the Boston Police Department's bagpipe band. The award-winning Gaelic Column performs at many local cultural events and parades, police officer funerals, and ceremonies, and have also performed in concert with the Dropkick Murphys.
Photo captions, from left to right:
1) Boston Veterans Day Parade marchers carrying American and U.S. Coast Guard flags
2) East Boston Army JROTC's Clipper Battalion
3) Marchers from Boston's English High School
4) Marine Corps JROTC from Madison Park Technical Vocational High School in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood
5) Marchers from Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood
6) Members of Charlestown High School's Air Force Junior ROTC in Veterans Day Parade
7) POW-MIA (Prisoner of War - Missing in Action) Flag carried by American Legion members
8) Members of R.O.C. Veterans Association in Boston marching in Veterans Day Parade
9) Veterans carrying American and South Vietnamese flags in Boston Veterans Day Parade
10) Veterans from American Legion Boston Chinatown Post No. 328
The Suffolk County Council/District 7 of the American Legion coordinates the parade with the city. For more information: (617) 303-5693
Photo captions, from left to right:
1) Veterans for Peace Veterans Day Parade in Boston, with police escort
2) Marchers in Veterans for Peace Parade in Boston
3) Marchers carrying Peace Action sign (a reference to "police action," used to refer to the Korean and Vietnam Wars while they were being fought because they were undeclared wars)
4) Veterans Day Parade marchers carrying reminders of the costs of war
5) Members of brass band marching in Veterans for Peace Veterans Day Parade
6) Veterans Day Parade marcher wearing hoodie with a statement attributed to Major General Smedley Butler, U.S. Marine Corps, "War is a racket. A few profit - the many pay."
7) Marchers carrying Veterans for Peace banners
8) More banners carried by Massachusetts members of Veterans for Peace
9) Boston Veterans Day Parade marchers at the corner of Boylston and Tremont Streets
10) Veterans Day Parade marcher with "No War on Iran" sign
Being almost 400 years old, Boston has plenty of military history - and this special cruise to Fort Warren on Georges Island provides an enjoyable way to learn about it while honoring our veterans, past and present.
The cruise stops at Georges Island for a tour of Fort Warren.
Once you reach Georges Island, Park Rangers will present a program about the military history of Boston Harbor from the American Revolution through the Civil War and up to the present time.
The cruise boat departs from Long Wharf on Boston's Downtown Waterfront, at 11am, but you should arrive 20-30 minutes early for check-in and boarding for the 5-hour excursion.
Veterans go on the cruise for free. Everyone else pays $5. Sponsors of this wonderful event include the Boston Harbor Island Alliance, Arbella Insurance, the National Park Service, and the Massachusetts Dept. of Conservation and Recreation.
Please note - this cruise takes place on Saturday, November 15 - not on Veterans Day itself, which falls on a Tuesday for 2014.
More information: Veterans, please call 617-223-8666 for reservations and free tickets; everyone else should use the "reserve now" link on the Boston Harbor Islands website: http://www.bostonharborislands.org
Smart shoppers hit the Veterans Day sales hard! For best places to go, see my Columbus Day Sales suggestions.
If you are a Veteran, Home Depot and Lowe's will give you a 10% discount on November 11. (Bring your government-issued military ID card; here is more information.)
Wrentham Village Outlets offer some of the biggest bargains on luxury brands - sale prices on top of the usual discounts but get there very early to avoid traffic and parking snarls. Or hop on one of the Wrentham Village buses from Boston and relax while someone else does the driving.
You can also find a closer discount shopping alternative at Assembly Row, 5 minutes (by subway) from Downtown Boston. Hop on the Orange Line and get off at the new Assembly station. Columbus sales offered anywhere from 30% to 70% off the already discounted prices - so Veterans Day sales should be similar.
Want to show your appreciation for the sacrifices that Veterans have made to keep our country strong? Volunteer to serve meals at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans at 17 Court Street in downtown Boston, just a few steps from the Freedom Trail.
Volunteers are needed every day to serve both lunch and dinner. Call ahead to register at 617-371-1800, or register online.
The 2014 Veterans Walk and Run honors those who have served, and works toward solutions to prevent and end homelessness among Veterans.
This fundraiser event is sponsored by Back on My Feet Boston.
The walk/run starts at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans next to Government Center, and follows a route around Boston Common before returning to the Center where a dinner will be served.
The event starts at 6pm on 11/11/14. Tickets are $35, and registration is required. More information
If you're a veteran or active duty military, several Boston restaurants want to thank you. You will need proof of your status, such as a military ID, photo of yourself in uniform, or other proof of service.
Cask 'n Flagon (62 Brookline Ave, across from Fenway Park; also in Marshfield MA) will thank all Veterans and Active Duty Military by offiering a 40% discount on all food and beverages (except alcohol, excluded by MA law) on Monday, November 10, 2014.
McCormick & Schmick's (Faneuil Hall Marketplace and Park Plaza Boston locations) offers veterans a complimentary lunch or dinner entree on Sunday, November 9, 2014 (two days before Veterans Day). Reservations are a must - find details on the M&S website at: http://mccrmckschmcks.fbmta.com/members/ViewMailing.aspx?MailingID=36507263538
Boston Market (245 Mass Ave in Boston's Fenway neighborhood; 1010 William T Morrissey Blvd in Dorchester); offers veterans and active duty military a free whole chicken with the purchase of a family meal - must show your military ID.
Boston Duck Tours will honor the service of all military personnel and first responders by offering free rides to all war and peacetime military personnel during Veterans Day week - November 10-14 for 2014.
Franklin Park and Stone Zoos will offer free admission to veterans on Tuesday, November 11, 2014.
Ravioli gained status as the traditional Veterans Day food after President Woodrow Wilson invited 2,000 hungry returning soldiers to the White House for a ravioli (newly trendy due to advances in commercial canning) dinner in 1918.
Carry on the tradition by heading to Boston's North End where most of the Italian restaurants along Hanover and Salem Streets will have ravioli - or other equally delicious pasta - on their menus. More about Boston Italian restaurants in every neighborhood.
Coming to Boston for a 4-day weekend including Veterans Day? Here are suggestions about a few more things to do:
F-86 Sabrejet from Korean War at Hanscom Air Force Base in Concord MA, 10 miles west of Boston