Bedford’s Veterans Day observance on Wednesday, Nov. 11, like almost every public ceremony this year, will be virtual.
However, plans call for almost all of the features of the actual observances, including tributes to individuals who served.
Paul Purchia, chair of the town Patriotic Holiday Committee, said this week that he is lining up the traditional Veterans Day speakers from state and local government as well as the two Bedford veterans organizations. He is following the same template used before the Covid-19 pandemic precluded public gatherings.
The observance, usually held at Veterans Memorial Park, is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m., broadcast via Bedford TV (Comcast 99 or Verizon 40, or YouTube Channel www.youtube.com/bedfordtvma). A rebroadcast is scheduled for 3 p.m.
The most technically challenging but also most meaningful aspect will be the tributes, Purchia said.
The tradition, which was originated by long-time veterans advocate Irene Rivet some 15 years ago, involves a special wreath. Each year participants approach the microphone and make brief statements about individual veterans close to them, including name, branch, and service highlights.
Then each participant inserts a tiny U.S. flag, attached to a toothpick-shaped pole, into the wreath.
“That’s the most precious part of the Veterans Day ceremony,” Purchia commented. “A number of military guests have told me over the years that this is the most poignant Veterans Day ceremony they had seen.”
There won’t be any wreath this year. But there will be pre-recorded individual statements of up to 30 seconds each, thanks to Bedford TV.
An Invitation to Share Your Family’s or Personal Tributes in 2020
Purchia noted that the televised format has the potential to exponentially expand the usual audience for the in-person ceremonies.
Through widespread publicity, he said the committee hopes to attract statements from residents who have never been to Veterans Memorial Pak for the wreath tributes. He added that disabled veterans and other residents of the VA Hospital and Bedford Green apartments are also being encouraged to participate virtually.
Bedford TV, the town’s local access channel, invites residents to record their tributes in either of two ways:
- Zoom recordings are planned for October 27 and 28 as well as November 3 and 4. Persons who wish to use this option should email firstname.lastname@example.org. They will be contacted to set up recording times.
- Persons can also make their own recordings using a smartphone, video camera, or computer. The resulting video file should be sent to email@example.com by November 4.
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 781-983-1763
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