Veterans Day on the Vineyard will look different this year as the traditional parade down Lake avenue in Oak Bluffs has been cancelled. However, there will be a socially-distanced ceremony to honor veterans at Ocean Park at 11 a.m. Wednesday.
All veterans are invited to be a part of the ceremony, said Peter Herrmann, quartermaster of the Veterans of Foreign Wars post 9261 in Oak Bluffs.
Traditionally a color guard made up of units from Island police departments, the Dukes County sheriff’s department, the Coast Guard and Boy and Girl Scouts accompany the veterans during the parade and ceremony. This year, the color guard at the ceremony will be made up of just veterans, Mr. Herrmann said.
The ceremony will begin with an opening prayer, pledge of allegiance and Mary McDonald will sing the National Anthem. There will also be a few brief speeches, then a wreath will be laid, a firing squad will salute and Taps will be played.
Observance of the ceremony is not limited to veterans, said Bruce Montrose, director of veterans service on the Island.
“Whoever wants to come, please come,” Mr. Montrose said, adding that observers could also watch from their cars.
Mr. Herrmann said that normally after the ceremony all the veterans would head to the VFW for continuing celebrations. However, “nobody will be going back to the VFW like in past years because of Covid-19,” he said.
Beyond the Island, there are a number of virtual events to honor Veterans Day in and around Massachusetts.
At 10 a.m. Wednesday, there will be a virtual Veterans Day ceremony with speakers and musical performances from all corners of the Commonwealth. Gov. Charlie Baker is expected to speak and there will be a tribute from active military members. There will be a live stream of the event.