This Wednesday, November 11 will be a particularly solemn Veterans Day in Westchester. It was only a few months ago that National Guard units were deployed to New Rochelle to help bring food and aid to the struggling community at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. While we wish to honor these and other service members, large public gatherings are still unfeasible, meaning local communities are having to get a little more creative with how they’re holding ceremonies this year.
Some public services such as libraries will be still be closed in observance of the holiday, but here’s how you can join in and celebrate our county’s heroes.
The Daughters of Liberty’s Legacy will dedicate a new veterans section of the Gate of Heaven Cemetery on Saturday, November 14, at 1 p.m. The small, socially distant ceremony will feature bagpipes, other music, folding of flags, laying of wreaths, a rifle salute, and light refreshments, as well as remarks for the Westchester Veterans’ Agency Director Ron Tocci. Face coverings will be required.
The village will hold a small ceremony at Flint Park Legion Hall at 5 p.m.
American Legion Post 90 will host its Veterans Day observance beginning at 11 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial (189 Prospect Ave). The ceremony will last about 30 minutes and include songs, prayers, greetings and remarks, and tributes. Facemasks will be required at all times and social distancing will be enforced.
The City and American Legion Post 8 will hold a hybrid live/virtual ceremony from City Hall starting at 11 a.m. featuring remarks from Director of Westchester County Department of Consumer Affairs and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Jim Maisano. In-person attendance is limited, so the event will also be available to view throughout the day on New Rochelle’s local cable channel NRTV (Optimum channel 75/FiOS channel 28) and on the city’s Facebook page.
Rye’s annual Veterans Day observance has moved online this year, with a virtual ceremony on Wednesday which will air on local station RYE TV at 11 a.m. and throughout the day. The ceremony will be led by American Legion Post 128 Commander Fred de Barros, featuring short statements from Rye City Mayor Josh Cohn and Westchester County Executive George Latimer. The program will also detail the long military history of the local Bailey family, and include patriotic songs by Robin Latimer and an invocation by Rev. Kate Malin.
The Town of Somers will also be holding a virtual ceremony, starting at 11 a.m. on town cable (Optimum channel 20 or Comcast channel 22), YouTube, and Facebook Live, which will then be rebroadcast throughout the day.
White Plains is also jumping on the digital bandwagon, with a virtual ceremony beginning at 10 a.m. on Optimum channel 75/FiOS channel 47, and streamable online, repeating hourly throughout the day and on demand. This year’s speaker will be former U.S. Air Force officer an Strategic Air Command pilot Elizabeth Lambert.
Yorktown actually put together a rather clever solution this year to solve the problem of high-risk groups parading through throngs of supportive neighbors: They reversed it. This past Sunday, November 8, the town held a “reverse parade,” wherein veterans socially distanced along the parade route and civilians then drove past in decorated cars, led by police, fire, and emergency vehicles, to honor them. How cool is that?