The United Veterans Council of Woonsocket will have a brief ceremony at World War II Memorial Park Sunday, and locals can enjoy a more elaborate celebration Monday courtesy of the Museum of Work and Culture.
Veterans Agent Ernest Boisvert said Sunday's ceremony will take place near the canons and monument in the park at 11 a.m., with a speech from him and remarks from a minister from the Assemly of God church. Boisvert has invited local veterans groups to attend.
A more involved celebration of Veterans Day will be held at the museum, 42 South Main St., at 10 a.m. Monday. The annual celebration's theme this year is the War of 1812, said Romeo Berthiaume, a volunteer at the museum.
The ceremony will feature a performance by the Woonsocket High School JROTC. "They do a very impressive flag folding ceremony," Berthiaume said. Dave Richards, owner of WOON, will narrate it, Berthiaume said.
The morning will also feature a reading of the song "Taps", which has lyrics - a fact few people know, Berthiaume said. Another fact: "Many don't realize it was written during the Civil War," he said. Jeff Gamache of WNRI will do the reading.
In keeping with the theme, the ceremony will also honor Rhode Islander (South Kingstown) Oliver Hazard Perry, aka, the "Hero of Lake Erie" for leading the victory at the Battle of Lake Erie. There are statues of him in Washington DC and in Eisenhower Park in Newport. He's famous for the quote, "We have met the enemy and they are ours."
Woonsocket has an interesting connection to the War of 1812, America's last war with Great Britain, Berthiaume said. During the war, the country's trade with Britain and most of Europe drew to a halt.
The industrial revolution, already in its infancy thanks to Samuel Slater in Pawtucket, got a big boost since the lack of trade from overseas meant Americans had to make their own goods. A certain village called Woonsocket started to bustle during that time.
When the war was won, "We had learned to manufacture our own goods," Berthiaume.
Berthiaume said the weather Monday is supposed to be a balmy 70 degrees, so he expects a good crowd.
Richard Schatz, President of the United Veterans Council of Woonsocket and Boisvert will attend, and all the city's veterans are invited. So are you.